#RRSciFiMonth Book Review | “The Last Day of Captain Lincoln” (a novella debut) by EXO Books

Posted Wednesday, 29 November, 2017 by jorielov , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book by: Last year for #RRSciFiMonth, I had intended to review this story and host the illustrator in an interview, however, due to certain circumstances and a family health crisis, I had to postpone my readings of the story. Although, I attempted to read this story during [2017] the timing never felt right to broach the subject matter within it’s scope, thereby, I pushed forward my plans until this year’s #RRSciFiMonth event in November, 2017.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Last Day of Captain Lincoln” direct from the author/publisher EXO Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I’ve been dearly keen on reading this lovely Sci-Fi Novella:

I was originally approached by Mr EXO to read this novella for the [2016] #RRSciFiMonth event, however, I was unable to complete what I had planned – as I wanted to not only read the story but to interview the illustrator of who had inspired me whilst browsing through the hardback copy prior to reading the narrative. These illustrations were so captivatingly honest and real – they illustrated the depth of emotional conviction whilst giving you a clear insight into what the character being illustrated could have been thinking at the time their portrait was taken. I felt these illustrations were an apt component to the story-line, of digging in even a bit deeper than where the context might take me as they visually were quite stunning to lay thought over on their own!

The main reason I knew in my heart I couldn’t read this story last [November] or even during the #SciFiExperience (which has served as a bookended event to my wanderings during Sci Fi November) – is due to the experiences I had with my Dad during his stroke, surgery and hospitalisation. I wasn’t entirely sure when I could alight inside another person’s ‘last day’ as I had come too close to realising the last ‘day’ of my father’s. Looking back on the past year has been an incredible year of healing and growth – of how the mind heals after the eruptions of stroke and how the man re-emerges back into his life whilst looking ahead to the future. It has been a difficult year for the most part but it has been a blessed year at the same time – it’s the year my Dad recovered from his stroke and I, took on the role of his caregiver.

What first caught my attention though – is how the story seemed to be told – from an introspective angle of insight into Captain Lincoln. I also liked the innovative approach and non-conventional publishing career of the author, of whom, goes simply by ‘EXO Books’ which is in of itself a clever moniker to have as an author/publisher due to the duality of it’s purpose.

As the [2017] #RRSciFiMonth event approached – I knew I wanted to do something quite special connected to reading the story, which is why I co-hosted a chat with Mr EXO on Twitter. You can read the recapture of the conversation as well as find links to to the Storified transcript and the books of rec’s via Riffle on this post. Perhaps, next year – I can converse with the illustrator and bring everything full circle!

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#RRSciFiMonth Book Review | “The Last Day of Captain Lincoln” (a novella debut) by EXO BooksThe Last Day of Captain Lincoln
by EXO Books
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Kimberly Hazen
Source: Direct from Author, Direct from Publisher

Captain Lincoln's last day is the hardest day of his life.

An old, onetime Captain of the interstellar spaceship USNAS Hope Eternal, Lincoln always knew that this day would come. For just as birthdays are carefully planned, so are deaths. And although he must reckon with his fate, this is not a somber story. It is a tale of love and sacrifice, told in the context of the most advanced civilization ever to exist—a society that has taken to the stars in an effort to save all that is best in humanity.

Follow Lincoln through his internal struggles, his joy in having lived, and his journey to peace.

The End is just the beginning.

Genres: Science Fiction, Short Story or Novella, Space Opera

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9780997590258

Published by EXO Books, LLC

on 20th August, 2016

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 133

Published By:  EXO Books

Available Formats: Hardback, Ebook

Genre(s): Speculative | Science Fiction | Futuristic Fiction

Space Opera | Introspective Fiction | Death & Mortality

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my review of the last day of captain lincoln:

One of the hardest things to reconcile when your contemplating space travelling is the hardened reality of potentially not returning alive. Even now, as mankind has his sights on travelling to Mars, a planet I never was quite sure was the ‘right’ choice to inhabit much less visit, I question if the pursuit is worth the risk of loss of life? The route is arduous in of itself, the time expense is intensively brutal and the outcome once you’ve arrived is questionable because no one is entirely sure if supplies will last past initial arrival to Mars itself. Thereby, as I started to read about Captain Lincoln, I had a feeling something might have curtailed his journeys in Space – something quite extreme, where an event could not be circumvented but had to be accepted; even if the heart was nearly unwilling to believe the life being lived was about to come to a rather abrupt ‘end’.

It is here we alight into his shoes – of being the Captain of a ship whose expedition has proved to be quite earnestly futile – they’ve come across a sun whose death is not only imminent but will cause their own destruction, for their ship cannot outrun or out maneuver the threat it poses to them. You can feel the rush of anguish murmuring through the crew, of the fear choking hold of Captain Lincoln and of course, the irony of how they’ve travelled thus far to find what they felt was something else entirely only to recognise in their haste to arrive, nothing is as it seems; if anything, everything is turnt upside down to what was expected!

And, yet is that how his life is meant to end?

As we turn back into his internal conflicts – where his mind is wrestling with acceptance of his life ending after eighty years of life, we find the harder truths of his age – of how there is an agreement for a given lot of years (eighty, apparently!) without the strife of making an earnest living nor of being taken down by illness. Whilst he is contemplating his life and the conclusion of it with his wife Helen, we start to gather pieces of how this Futuristic world differs from our own; some of which, is being spoken about now, in our world of being implemented in the nearer future which made the story grounded in the truths of our century whilst being projected into a future one. Including the advancement of tech being implanted into our bodies – where miniature devices track our health with smart chip technology.

Lincoln and his wife (although they are not traditionally married, they felt married) Helen share the joys of intimacy at this ending stage – of where their memories and the love they’ve shared for each other pool together to explode into their own personal symphony of remembrance of each other. Each of them is not willing to ‘let go’ until it is necessary whilst neither can believe how much time has elapsed since they first met. The only thing that did surprise me in a way, is how no one on board the ship can conceive children as the entire population is sterile. Which does hint towards having control over population spikes but also, draws a question around how far humanity took technology and biometrics towards erasing part of what makes us ‘human’.

As we progressed into the medical disclosures of how such implants were integrated into the lives of those aboard, we start to notice how each human on board is ‘less human’ now than they were originally. For all the advancements of access the implants gave, they also did not give a way to ‘disconnect’ from the mainframe of where the sentient computer was now instantly connected to them. In some regards, this proposes the same question I am finding in my Speculative readings – how far is too far in regards to nanotechnology and digital implants? This society reminded me also about the forewarnings etched into the animated film ‘Wall-E’ for being a modern cautionary tale about the choices humans are making today which could effectively cause further harm in the ‘future’.

There is a well-articulated discourse on biodiversity – a topic I read earlier in the year, which talks about the natural history of man’s evolution and understanding of the natural world. It also points towards augmenting how the humans of Earth’s past and the crew aboard the Hope Eternal differ from one another in their understanding of how ‘best to maintain’ the functionality of proportional balance within population densities. Further revealling how in this controlled environment, they’ve accounted for everything save one thing: what becomes of this population once they are again living on-world vs. offworld? Would they move backwards or continue to move forwards? How much would alter if their freedoms of choice were restored to where everything isn’t systematically controlled for them?

Equally, there is a strong passage of thought about religious backgrounds and the reasons why Captain Lincoln could not find himself tethered to religious rhetoric. He was researching his own mortality, seeking to find answers to his anguish about having to leave the life he loved living whilst at the same time, sharing what he found with the children he was also leaving behind. The children themselves were raised by everyone on the ship, as none of them had parents (in the traditional sense; although they are bourne traditionally); which in one way surprised me because I thought for sure even if they were being produced in a lab, surely there would be a genetic identifier about who had contributed to which child?

Irregardless, if you have a spiritual background you might find some of this section of the story a bit difficult to work through, as Captain Lincoln is quite specific in why he has an aversion to religious backgrounds and spirituality in general. This part of our life – the immediacy of working out our own thoughts on where we stand with our beliefs has been erased from humanity in Lincoln’s era – they take a more realistic approach of stepping out of religion and thereby, live more by what science and philosophy can dictate. Even though, as you observe them, they have as many issues day to day as we do – they simply have difficulties in resolving how they feel and think, due to how far removed they are from the societies we once had on Earth. In some ways, by travelling through space they’ve lost some of the key components of what made us independent thinkers because of how advanced they’ve become technologically.

Not to say, they are not advancing in knowledge, innovation and other areas of interest – it’s hard to explain, really. In their isolation within the the ship, their experiences are thereby limited moreso than they would have been if they had had the freedom to explore who they were outside of that condensed environment where nothing changes – as their lives are very repetitiously planned. To such an extent, even their ‘end’ is routine. By the time they each reach the curtain call on their lives, they do have a very ritualistic ending to entertain – which in part, also surprised me as they didn’t seem to like placing empathsis on rituals or rites. Here, we saw them at their most vulnerable – where the grim reality of what they were about to face together was suddenly upon them.

As you read through Captain Lincoln’s last day, you gather how his life has been lived within a highly organised sphere of existence. Of how, despite having everything within grasp of his mind and of his knowledge, there were certain things he could have regretted but he chose to look at the positives; of seeing what he was able to do with his years rather than to focus on what he lost. As you conclude the story though, part of you wonders about some of the heavier subjects broached in the background; of how this travelling society (be as it were) might be in for rough seas ahead. Would each new generation agree so readily to their way of life? Would there be some who rebel away from it? And, of course, what would become of their ancestral rites if they were to develop a keen interest in re-settling off the ship itself?

on the speculative writing styling of exo books:

Rather than give a definitive opening bridge into the world in which Captain Lincoln lives, he’s taken a more character-centred approach of letting Lincoln grant us leeway into understanding his life especially from the stand-point of why humans had to leave Earth, taking residence on his ship and finding a way to have a self-sufficiency of longevity on a ship with specific needs in regards to how many people can live comfortably aboard. Yet, this isn’t a traditionally told tale – from the illustrative plates, which either highlight the story itself or during the ‘segue sections’ where the illustrations are a compliment to the quotations being shared between the chapters themselves; this story has it’s own sense of self, whilst guiding the reader to draw their own conclusions alongside Captain Lincoln’s own quest for understanding.

There are key elements within this story, readers of Hard Science Fiction will appreciate, however, I felt it was more befitting a Soft Science Fiction line of enquiry due to the nature of how the story unfolded. It’s very much a thinking man’s discourse on life whilst grappling with the individual chaos of understanding each person’s place within their lifespan. Of how what we do and what we gain are part of the collective experience of our lives whilst what we leave behind – in regards to personal legacies, are the memories and moments imprinted on others who we touched by our presence whilst we were alive.

It is a stark reminder about what is most important and about how we ought to focus on what is important to us every moment we have the choice to choose how we spend our hours.

Fly in the Ointment:

Curiously, I was enjoying the alternative expression: rots in lieu of a stronger word choice, only to find the author exchanged the latter for a most well-known word to be used. *le sigh* I might have been surprised to find the full portrait of Captain Lincoln in his birthday suit, but being an appreciator of art – I could see why the illustrator chose to capture his essence in full if only to prove how worried he was about his ‘end of life’ but when it comes to language, I have the tendency of appreciating alternatives to the expletives which still never seem to fit properly into the context their given. For instance, the rhythm of this story didn’t need a rougher word spliced into it, as it already had established itself as an introspective narrative. The language choices continued to irk me as I read the story-line but also, too, some of the choices in descriptive narrative seemed to rankle a bit on the gritty or raw aspects of how to disclose the same moments of his life. Something felt a bit off to me as I read the story – either due to how it was told or the choices of how it was being told in certain sections between the starting chapters and the middle bridge.

Also, one thing that jolted a bit in the streaming narrative was the insertion of all the computer displays – especially when referencing the music selections. At first it seemed fitting but then, as we get more of them to arrive into the stream of where we are in the story-line, it felt a bit cluttered. After awhile, though the illustrations found their own niche of purpose and flowed seamlessly into the background of where the story led us.

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This book review is courtesy of: EXO Books

EXO Books badge provided by EXO Books and used with permission.

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Previously, during #RRSciFiMonth [2017]

Rimrider (audiobook) by L.A. Kelley | (see also Review)

#WWWeds Introduction | (see also Post)

#RRSciFiMonth Chat, No.1 | Feat. EXO Books as co-host | (see also Post)

#RRSciFiMonth Chat, No.2 | Feat. Kaki Olsen as co-host | (see also Post)

Murder in the Generative Kitchen by Meg P | (see also Post)

My final contribution to #RRSciFiMonth this year will be my ruminative thoughts on behalf of the FINAL chapter of #theclanchronicles: “To Guard Against the Dark” by Julie E. Czerneda.

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UPCOMING SOON: [ this December ] more #FuellYourSciFi selections from Jorie

Several of these selections are considered Magical Realism, a sub-genre I especially am drawn to exploring further – as I love how it plays with intermixing #SciFantasy aspects into the narratives whilst giving us that beautiful bridge into a quasi-fantasy world with the beauty of being bent between genres of scope and breadth!

Far Orbit Apogee banner provided by World Weaver Press

  • Far Orbit: Apogee (edited by) Bascomb James (Synopsis)
  • Nebula Awards Showcase 2016 (edited by) Mercedes Lackey (Synopsis)
  • Trans-Continental: Girl in the Gears by E. Chris Garrison (Synopsis)
  • Prophecy by Paul Mark Tag (Synopsis)
  • Hope’s Prelude (novella, prequel) by L.G. O’Connor (Synopsis)
  • Frozen Fairy Tales (anthology) (edited by) Kate Wolford (Synopsis)
  • Heir to the Lamp (Book One: Genie Chronicles) by Michelle Lowery Combs (Synopsis)
  • The Beauty Thief (Book One: Chronicles of the Twelve Realms) by Rachael Ritchey (Synopsis)
  • Solomon’s Bell (Book Two: Genie Chronicles) by Michelle Lowery Combs (Synopsis) | (see also Cover Reveal w/ Notes)
  • Captive Hope (Book Two: Chronicles of the Twelve Realms) by Rachael Ritchey (Synopsis)
  • Almost a Millennium by Jeanbill (Synopsis)
  • White Thaw by Paul Mark Tag (Synopsis)

There will be more to share in January [2018] as well!

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Reader Interactive Question:

What do you look for in Science Fiction Short Stories and/or Novellas? Do you enjoy reading innovative story-lines within Speculative Fiction which parlay between Hard & Soft Sci-Fi with introspective narratives whilst merge illustrations into the context of how the story is told?

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Whilst happily being cross-promoted through my participation in:

Sci-Fi November | Hosted by Rinn Reads

This marks my 3rd review for #RRSciFiMonth! My readings haven’t been as active this year as I planned them to be, however, I was able to host two chats via Twitter whilst populating the last week of the event with a handful of reviews – leading up to the epic conclusion of #TheClanChronicles!

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{SOURCES: Cover Art for “The Last Day of Captain Lincoln”, book synopsis as well as the EXO Books badge were provided by EXO Books and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded due to the codes provided by Twitter. Sci Fi Month banner provided by Rinn of Rinn Reads for participants of #RRSciFiMonth. Far Orbit: Apogee banner is being used with permission of World Weaver Press. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Review Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2017.

I am a social reader | I tweet my reading life

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #FuellYourSciFi

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Wednesday, 29 November, 2017 by jorielov in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Fly in the Ointment, Hard Science Fiction, Indie Author, Science Fiction, Soft Science Fiction, Space Opera, Speculative Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature

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