Notice to Spacemen

A Novella by Oliver Arnold
Published on:  February 19, 2019


What in the world did I just read?  This was…different.   Was it a parody?  Tongue-in-cheek comedy?  A satire?  A serious novella?  All of the above?  After I finished reading this so many thoughts and questions rolled through my mind…

The day started on the spaceship Tiara just like any other normal day – with Engineer Edd turning on his display to read the Notice to Spacemen warnings, but he was quickly bored and soon after too distracted to even pretend to read.    The captain then came dancing in to ask for a quick passenger health check.  Once he was told everything was fine he immediately leaves to hide in the far side of the ship and to shirk off any captain duties.  Meanwhile, the crew is playing games and generally not doing anything remotely related to their jobs when they somehow run across Earth.  Except, it’s not where Earth should be – it’s not even in the same solar system.  And even though they do a close up scan and see things are out of place and generally not quite right – to them it is still Earth.  But, the Tiara isn’t the only ship there.   When they see the other ship they believe aliens are attacking “Earth” so they decide they must wake the passengers in order for them to assist in the attack against the aliens and help rescue those on “Earth” – even though they aren’t on a military vessel and have no weapons.  Instead, they decide to send two members of their crew on a reconnaissance mission, one of which is apparently the only pilot they have.  

If you have ever seen the Empire Strikes Back, you will remember when Han Solo had to land the Falcon in a large asteroid cave to give them time to hide and repair.  But…if you have ever wondered what might have happened to them had they had not gotten out of that cave when they did, then this might help explain what happens in the rest of Notice to Spacemen.  Does Han and Chewbacca fight each other for the last escape pod (if there were one on the Falcon)?  Does Leia lock C- 3PO outside of the ship just to save herself?  Answers we may never know in the Star Wars universe, however, we get to learn the answer in Notice to Spacemen

While reading the story, I did find things a bit confusing at different points in the story.  I would have to re-read parts to understand what was going on.  One specific case was when a certain 5-10 minutes was repeated, but just from another point of view.  In this instance, it took me a few seconds to grasp what was going on.  I also found what some of the characters were or were not doing confusing.  For example, I never fully grasped what was going (or not going on) with the captain.  He just wasn’t very captain-y and generally seemed a bit out of his mind – but it also may be that I just skipped over some crucial details and didn’t realize it.  The story also had a few gross moments too.

Overall, I’m not quite sure what to make of this story and I really don’t know how to rate it.  Yesterday I finished two books: a cozy mystery and this novella.  The cozy mystery made much more sense, had better structure, and was overall a good solid read.  On the other hand, this book had a few gross moments in it, several confusing portions that I had to re-read, and was just generally quite “different”.    But which one did I tell my coworker about when I got to work?  It was this one. It was just so different and weird that I felt the need to talk about it.  “Why didn’t they use logic and realize it wasn’t Earth?”  “Why did they send their only pilot on the reconnaissance mission?”  “Why didn’t just one of them do their jobs?”   

This book could be a 2-star, 3-star, or 4-star – I just don’t know.

I won this novella in a GoodReads Giveaway and this is my honest opinion.



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