Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Peter Cawdron has devoted much of his authorship to exploring the topic of making a first contact with aliens, even penning a thematically-united series simply titled First Contact. In Wherever Seeds May Fall, he presents us with a scenario where an unknown object heading towards Earth ramps up speculations about a potential first contact, exploring the profound ramifications of such an event on all levels of our society.
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Peter Cawdron Explores the First Interaction
We cannot possibly know what consequences would come following our first contact with an alien race, but nevertheless, it hasn’t stopped us from arduously pursuing this goal or fantasizing about what it might bring. Peter Cawdron has spent a significant part of his writing career meditating on the subject, as he did recently once again in Wherever Seeds May Fall.
The book is part of the First Contact series, but one isn’t required to have read the previous novels to understand it. All the books in the series are only united by their main theme, meaning they can be read in any order you desire for they’re all completely standalone works in their own right.
Wherever Seeds May Fall opens with an unexpected cosmic occurrence as a comet is observed to have skimmed the clouds of Saturn and then flown back out into space, rather than having been absorbed by the giant. The comet seems to be headed for Jupiter, and those observations are enough to give birth to speculations about it being an alien craft.
What’s more, the speculations seem to be increasingly reasonable as the object approaches our planet, and two people find themselves caught in the tremendous ramifications of the event. The Lieutenant Colonel Nolan Landis and Dr. Kath Mckenzie have to, on one hand, calm down and reassure an angry public, and on the other, fulfill the President’s demands.
The implications of a potential impending first contact prove to be quite worrying. The scientific world prepares for an upheaval and a chance to jump innumerable years forward, regular people from all around find themselves both terrified and hopeful for what’s to come, and needless to say, politicians are all too eager to have their say in the matter.
A World Upturned in Wherever Seeds may Fall
The vast majority of science-fiction novels in the past few years which deal with the topic of alien arrival tend to take the angle of an invasion. Invariably, this generally tends to lead stories towards epic and completely necessary battles, which apparently also require the addition of unnecessary romantic subplots. The lack of all those things was what turned my attention to this book to begin with.
Rather than taking us into the realm of fast-paced action and cosmic invaders, Peter Cawdron instead takes a much more intelligent approach to the topic, truly worthy of being classified as hard science-fiction in my opinion.
Much of his focus is dedicated to studying the various layers of society and their different reactions to the possibility of an impending first contact. We get a close look at how regular people would see their lives upturned, and I must say Cawdron did an amazing job at conveying just how daunting of a cloud it would be to live under.
My grandfather once told me, birds gather wherever seeds may fall.― Peter Cawdron, Wherever Seeds May Fall
He takes the time to see how the various social structures could become affected by something which would inevitably engender a worldwide state of panic, and in some cases, zealotry. In other words, he traces logical and profound changes in society which could realistically occur if we ourselves were faced with the same situation.
I also quite enjoyed the moments he spent delving into the political side of things, and I believe the author has an acute understanding of politicians, how they think and what they’re liable to do. The psychological insight into their thought processes is eye-opening in certain instances, serving as a good reminder of how malleable they are and what they truly hold dear: their own agendas.
The Complex Intricacies of Science
When deciding on whether or not to read a hard science-fiction novel, I would assume many people consider the technical heft they would have to contend with, which makes sense considering the nature of the genre. Some authors don’t really know, or perhaps don’t want to make their novels more widely accessible, and fill their books with practical jargon and nigh-incomprehensible discussions.
Peter Cawdron is on the other end of the spectrum, excelling at making the science in this novel very easy to understand, visualize, process and absorb. Most notable were his descriptions of space travel, how it works, the challenges it presents, and the many factors which can contribute to its success or failure.
In Wherever Seeds May Fall he finds ways to lay out even the most complicated concepts in simple terms a complete novice might understand, including gravity wells, types of orbits, and orbital mechanics, just to name a few. In turn, allows for the story to progress smoothly and at a pleasantly quick pace, rarely dwelling on any single concept or event for too long.
Amidst all the scientific talk the authors also finds the time and opportunity to develop his characters, whom I found to be the perfect vehicles to move us through this story. They are intelligent and doted with a great amount of common sense, which already likely places them in the ninety-ninth percentile of all human beings.
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Watching them as they try to navigate the minefields of politics and social upheaval becomes fairly exciting as the stakes are consistently raised higher and higher, and it also helps no one is guaranteed to have plot armour, not even the main characters.
The Final Verdict
Wherever Seeds May Fall by Peter Cawdron is an exemplary hard science-fiction novel, relaying a captivating story with thought-provoking meditations on how mankind might react to the First Contact, told through a gripping story which at times even begins to feel like a bit of a thriller.
If you’re looking for an intelligent hard science-fiction novel on the topic of the ramifications of our potential first contact with an alien race, I strongly suggest you give the novel a read.
Peter Cawdron is an Australian writer of fiction books, primarily specializing in hard science-fiction novels relayed in layman’s terms. He is best-known for his First Contact series, which unites many works through the theme of alien contact, including bestsellers such as 3zekiel, Anomaly, Xenophobia and Wherever Seeds May Fall.