A Decision of Three Parts
Review of EFC Book 2: Captain Taylor Starship Ceu
Review by Tom Pahlow
Encapsulating all the hope and potential of space travel, Captain Taylor: Starship Ceu by Julian Fernandes and illustrated by Leonardo Guinard, has it all. The promise of a new beginning for humankind, exciting and unexpected discoveries, the isolation of the void and the burden of leadership. Each plays its part in Book 2 of Earths Final Chapter.
The story lets us watch a potentially pivotal point in earths history. While on a Scouting mission for habitable planets, the Starship Ceu discovers an alien ship adrift in space. The crew, and ultimately Captain Taylor, must decide whether to continue their vital mission or explore the alien vessel.
Each of the upper leadership on the starship have their opinions on the appropriate course of action but manage to come up with a solution that lets them accomplish everything. Personally, I would have liked to see more consequences from this decision. Making them give up or compromise on the original mission or having to abandon proof of alien life and the potential advancements it could bring would have made the moment more compelling for me.
Despite this, Captain Taylor: Starship Ceu perfectly gave me the feeling of anxiety, excitement, hope and trepidation that venturing into the depths of space would bring. Each moment on their journey is punctuated by crewmembers showing fear and excitement of the unknown. I found it incredibly human to see the differing reactions of the characters. Fernandes does a great job of understanding that everyone responds to change in different and often unpredictable ways.
The relationship between Captain Taylor and his wife, Lead Councillor of the office of Mental Health, was something special as well. It was refreshing to read about a healthy relationship that manages difficulty through mutual support. There were no unnecessary arguments or snide comments that served as useless drama. It was two people in love and each building each other up through hardship. Something I wish I saw more in fiction.
Speaking of the characters, while reading Starship Ceu I was struck by their diversity. All of them are distinct and Fernandes uses their physical traits or gender to help to make them unique without cheapening it by making it the entirety of their identity. They are all fully realised people, and the focus is given to their character rather than any physical trait that they are born with.
All of these things together told the story of the Starship Ceu and its groundbreaking journey. As I’ve come to expect from Earths Final Chapter, the story ended on a note of potential. Leaving me with the burning desire to devour the rest. You win again Fernandes.