Kimberly Evans, a graduate student with UC Berkeley, gets the shock of her life while working the night shift at the SETI Allen Array facility: a transmission broadcast from Mercury. In a matter of hours, alien life has been exposed with the revelation of a human settlement on the solar system’s first planet, opening up questions of how this is possible, and how we missed it in two previous missions to the planet. The inhabitants on Mercury are equally puzzled – they suspected that advanced life flourished on the blue jewel in the sky, and didn’t understand why it took so long for their neighbors to find them. Questions emerge on how similar life could flourish on two radically different planets, and each answer points to more questions about the similarities between their races. When an amazing discovery reveals the common elements between their races on a casual flyover mission, both races are shocked, puzzled, and struggling to come to terms with what binds them together.
Mercury Ice: The Seventh Coordinate (Book One) by Michael Morrow is a perfect scifi novel, filled with mystery, intrigue, government conspiracies, and even a touch of romance as the races come to know one another across the 49.2 million miles that separate them. The plot expertly weaves the science and human elements together to show both the best and worst of humanity as scientists rush to present Earth’s best, while political concerns show our worst. Allegiances are tested as contact increases between the two planets and a manned mission to Mercury begins to develop. The book closes with the perfect cliffhanger revelation that places urgency on the interstellar trip, and on how to maintain good relations in the face of a new threat revealed on an Earth scanning ship that the residents of Mercury placed in storage in good faith that it’s harmless. Was their trust misplaced?
I can tell that Morrow has a true love for the science, characters, and story in this emerging trilogy, because it’s well researched and written. Mercury Ice is definitely one of my top indie reads of all time, and I look forward to Book 2 in this series.