From Another World – A review of the novel ‘Target Earth’

“Sailors on a becalmed sea, we sense the stirring of a breeze.” – Carl Sagan

Author Mary Louise Davie’s novel ‘Target Earth: You only see what you want to’ is set in the foreseeable future in classic science fiction style. Mankind has achieved much technological progress and has learned to harness the prowess of computers and artificial intelligence for its own benefit. When a couple of aliens make contact with such an automated world. Scientist couple Dr. Danielle and Dr. Christian are chosen to meet these aliens and understand the purpose behind their visit.

The book says that while humans of the future have made much progress with technology, their humanity has taken a backseat. Some may very well argue that such a reality is already a part of the present world we live in, and those people wouldn’t be wrong either. The book doesn’t despise or present all technology as evil, in fact it has clearly extolled the virtues and incredible developments that has been possible because of new technologies. The book actually looks at the person behind the machine and the inherent drawback in this animal that makes putting advanced technology in its hands dangerous. Greed, maniacal ego, and distrust of each other manifests itself in such a manner that human beings have put its future in grave danger. Clearly inspired by other science fiction narrative, here too a powerful and innately advanced civilization comes to the conclusion that the ongoing progress of humans could be detrimental to the lives of other beings in the universe and decides it’s time to destroy planet earth. Although one could argue that by following such an arbitrary action this supposedly superior power is destroying all plant and animal lives for no fault of their own. The parallel drawn to Noah’s ark fits well here, for all it moral plusses and minuses.

The aliens in the book should win over your heart. They are not some freakishly tall beings with bloated heads. Ishmael and Rudy give the appearance of humanoids and walk & talk like them, but it’s mostly to placate the fears of the natives and make them feel comfortable. Their interactions with the humans, especially Danny and Chris have many heartwarming moments. Christian and Rudy have a more masculine character to their interactions, bordering on comical awkwardness. Danielle and Ishmael on the other hand have a more easy going relationship and their interactions and the trust they share right from the start feels like they have been best friends for a long time. The professional and personal partnership between Danny and Chris too has been well etched out.

The author should be commended for the design of the various future technologies and the architecture of the setting this story plays out in. The description of the homes, offices, cars, weapons, and spacecrafts are amazing. Although it is science fiction and fantasy, a lot of grounded thinking and real science seems to have gone behind its creation. Ideas like these present exciting possibilities of what our future may look like.

Target Earth isn’t a typical sci-fi/apocalypse novel and that is because of the subtle but important political message found in the book. The threat to humanity is not from outsiders but from within - is a thread that needs to be explored in detail by everyone. Sometimes witty, mysterious and thought provoking at other times, this novel is a good science fiction fable.

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