Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
M.R. Forbes has settled into the science-fiction genre like the comfortable home it ought to be for someone so immersed in the subject, having already explored quite a few interesting ideas in a relatively short amount of time. In Foresight, the first book in the Forgotten Space series, we follow the story of a test pilot desperately trying to save a tiny remnant of humanity (largely limited to his family) from an invasion, with only an experimental spaceship at his disposal.
Table of contents
M.R. Forbes Sends Humanity to New Reaches
The idea we’re going to have to leave Earth one day isn’t a new concept, especially considering what recent climate change trends have been showing us. We’ve even already starting looking for other Earth-like planets, should we end up failing in keeping this one habitable. We’re not even close to being ready for intergalactic colonization, but in Foresight by M.R. Forbes, the people of 2052 aren’t given much of a choice.
The first book in the Forgotten Space series opens by introducing us to Captain Nicholas Shepherd, a test pilot for Grimmel Corporation in charge of helping them develop the latest experimental starship, the titular Foresight. The importance of the project cannot be overstated for him, since the two-year-war between Earth and its alien invaders has just come to a close, with humanity coming out on the losing end.
Living on an Earth occupied by alien forces isn’t something Shepherd is ready to put up with, and the rest of humanity seem to agree, putting their faith in the Foresight’s ability to take them off-world and leave the lost planet behind forever.
Unfortunately for humanity, during its final flight the Foresight suffers some sort of unprecedented malfunction, and the aliens see it as their chance to wipe out what little is left of the human resistance. Being part of this resistance by default, Shepherd sees himself and his family caught in the crossfire and turns to the malfunctioning Foresight for their last chance to escape.
Along with a ragtag crew of survivors and his loved ones, Shepherd embarks on a mission of unimaginable proportions, with both the history and future of humanity hanging on his shoulders. Fortunately for him, he is bound to discover The Foresight is more than just a regular spaceship, and his mission might not be as hopeless as he imagined.
The Measured Acceleration of Foresight
Whereas many science-fiction adventures tend to skip the pleasantries and get the action going within a relatively short time frame, Foresight takes the opposite approach. M.R. Forbes is careful and quite meticulous in his presentation of the characters and the world they’re living in, ensuring we have a good understanding of the setting on a larger scale.
The characters (including the protagonist, his family and a few secondary actors) are all introduced in a great amount of detail, with the author doing his best to show the kind of people they are, how they think, what they hold dear, what values, principles and morals they follow. We also get to observe a fair bit of dysfunctional family dynamics, and while I do think not all of it was necessary, it does succeed in making the characters feel like real people rather than fixtures in the story.
The oppressive reality which comes along with humanity being conquered is also explored with a respectable amount of insight from the author’s imagination, especially in the first half of the book. While he does tread some of the ground you’d expect him to, Forbes also finds some original elements to add to his depiction of a fallen mankind, and if there’s one thing he does particularly well, it’s driving home the idea of helplessness while standing on the precipice of extinction.
A decent chunk of the world-building is also dedicated to the Foresight itself and the various experiments it is subjected to. I feared it would get a little tedious reading about the ship time and time again, but the author does a good job of unravelling its features and capabilities without long-winded technical paragraphs. Slowly but surely, I came to see it as more of a character than a hunk of metal, the last saviour on whose shoulders the survival of the species rests upon.
Naturally, this all means the book gets off to a relatively slow start, accelerating in small and measured increments until we’re finally thrust into the action, not long before the halfway point of the story. To be enjoyed to its fullest, I think it does require a certain amount of patience from the reader. If it’s something you’re lacking, I wouldn’t discard thoughts of reading this book just yet, because of two reasons: it is by no means painful, and it might be a necessary for a series with grandiose ambitions.
A Voyage with no End in Sight
Once we’re acquainted with everyone and the conditions they are living in on Earth, the story begins to kick into second gear as the escape from Earth is finally set into motion. The action scenes are especially well-written, allowing me to feel like I was in the middle of them with no trouble picturing the smallest details.
What’s more, the pace of the second half is in stark contrast with what we were treated to in the first, making it feel all the more violent and impactful. I felt like nobody’s fate was assured (perhaps barring the protagonist), and M.R. Forbes did a remarkable job at keeping alive a constant sense of omnipresent danger, ensuring we never really get a chance to feel comfortable.
In addition to their contention against the aliens, the mystery of the Foresight starship is one astutely-developed from our very first encounter with it, an element which is only amplified in the second half of the story. As we learn more and more about its true designation and capabilities, we are consistently left to wonder about what other secrets the experimental craft might hold in store for its occupants.
I should mention, while the science aspect of this story was given some importance during the world-building, the further we get into the action, the more it takes a back-seat to more fantastical elements which never really get proper and grounded explanations. It’s a perfectly fine direction to take, but one I think the reader ought to be warned about before diving into it.
|326||Independently published||July 26 2021||979-8542191539|
With this being the first book in a series, I think any reasonable reader will go into it expecting it to all end on a cliffhanger, which of course, it does. As a matter of fact, I’d say there isn’t much closure to be found at this novel’s conclusion, which makes it obvious to me it’s meant to serve as a launching pad for a lengthy adventure, one which I must assume has no end in sight for the moment.
The Final Verdict
Foresight by M.R. Forbes is a science-fiction adventure in equal parts interesting and exciting, launching off a new series with compelling characters on a mission with stakes which couldn’t possibly be any higher. Starting off slowly and methodically, the author takes great care in depicting the setting before ramping the pace up and thrusting us into the heart of the action and mystery.
If you enjoy science-fiction stories centred on humanity’s survival in hostile outer space and are keen on the types of adventures spanning multiple novels, then I’d certainly recommend you check this novel out.
M. R. Forbes
M.R. Forbes is an author primarily focusing on the science-fiction genre, having recently published a respectable amount of novels, including Rebellion, Chaos of the Covenant, Stars End and Foresight. He is also the author of numerous sci-fi series, including Forgotten Vengeance, War Eternal, Forgotten Colony and Forgotten Space.