Stephen J Carter’s “Storm Ring” is the 1st volume in the “Zero Point Light” Sci-Fi series. The story opens on the starship Arcturus 4 when the ship’s computer wakes up its human cargo. Rather unhelpfully, the initial scenes reminded me of ‘Alien’, but this feeling quickly passed as the story progressed. The six-strong crew discover their convoy has been destroyed and they are now faced with either going back to their last location, or exploring the unknown, but apparently habitable, planet of Nebura.
Naturally, they head down to the planet and soon learn that warring factions headed by Levrock and his partial-synth mutes are not the only thing they have to worry about: an environmental phenomenon known as the ‘Stilling’ eventually forces the crew and some of their new friends to attempt a sea journey to Polarica, where they anticipate things will be safer. However, they first have to negotiate the mysterious storm ring.
Normally, I’m not a great fan of sci-fi, but Stephen Carter’s writing is clever and wonderfully inventive, the story ripping along at a fair pace that, for the most part, held my attention without too much trouble. His descriptions are at times fascinating and thought-provoking and while his writing is always appealing, at times I found myself somewhat besieged by an overabundance of technical language. In addition, I felt that my interest in the characters began to wane slightly towards the end – though whether this was to do with the direction the plot was moving in, or something else, I really can’t say.
As with all good novels, the ending leaves us with a bit of a cliff-hanger and the promise of plenty more action in the next book of the series. One for the collection.