About the book, The Oxygen Farmer
- Genre: Science Fiction / Space Mystery
- Publisher: CamCat Books
- Date of Publication: December 5, 2023
- Number of Pages: 338 pages
- Scroll down for Giveaway!
After 35 years of living on the Moon, cranky old oxygen farmer Millennium Harrison has stumbled onto a hidden facility in the shadows of the Slayton Ridge Exclusion Zone with a radiation leak and a deadly secret. Mil’s discovery leads to the death of a young astronaut, sabotage, murder, and cover-ups that may go all the way to the Chief Administrator of the space agency. Unfortunately, she happens to be Mil’s estranged daughter, busy trying to secure her own legacy—the first international mission to Mars.
With time ticking down to a limited launch window, enemies, friends, and even family may do anything to ensure the truth doesn’t come out. Or will history finally catch up with a deadly scheme that has the potential to destroy the moon and eradicate all life on Earth? It seems the planet’s only hope is a cantankerous guy who never really liked those people in the first place.
Praise for The Oxygen Farmer
“An action-packed thriller perfect for fans of Andy Weir and Jack McDevitt.” —Kirkus Reviews
“This space mystery is a page-turner rooted in its convincing and compelling protagonists and their well-written relationships . . . SF fans will enjoy this rich novel full of good world building, mysterious space intrigue, and dry humor.” —Booklist
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About the author, Colin Holmes
Before the pandemic, Colin Holmes toiled in a beige cubical as a mid-level marketing and advertising manager for an international electronics firm. A recovering advertising creative director, he spent far too long at ad agencies and freelancing as a hired gun in the war for capitalism.
As an adman, Holmes has written newspaper classifieds, TV commercials, radio spots, trade journal articles and tweets. His ads have sold cowboy boots and cheeseburgers, 72-ounce steaks, and hazardous waste site clean-up services. He’s encountered fascinating characters at every turn.
Now he writes novels, short stories and screenplays in an effort to stay out of the way and not drive his far-too-patient wife completely crazy. He is an honors graduate of the UCLA Writers Program, a former board member of the DFW Writers Workshop and serves on the steering committee of the DFW Writers Conference. He’s a fan of baseball, barbeque, fine automobiles and unpretentious scotch.
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The Oxygen Farmer has it all: a plausible near-future science fiction setting, compelling characters, family drama, and a mystery that catches your interest from the start and expands until the end. With perfect pacing, realistic dialogue, and a deep love of real-world space history that shows in every description, this novel is intriguing, entertaining, and truly satisfying.
As a space junkie myself, I loved the blending of real history and fiction that author Colin Homes used to make his version of the moon feel like a living place and not just a dusty rock we visited a few times, many decades ago. As someone who has watched Apollo 13 and the HBO series From the Earth to the Moon countless times, and has devoured every account of the space race and many astronauts’ autobiographies, I appreciated the rich lore Holmes created on his personal lunar surface. I smiled the first time I read “Slayton Ridge,” because I understood the reference (Deke Slayton totally deserves to have a lunar landmark namesake) and that enhanced my enjoyment of the story, but there’s enough world-building and character work here to engage people who are less familiar with NASA history.
The story itself is as wonderful as the setting Holmes has created. Mil Harrison is the perfect protagonist. Cantankerous and aging, but still curious, he represents the contemporary world and the future in equal measures, and his status as the first baby born in the twenty-first century just adds to the created history in this book. Mil’s work as the titular Oxygen Farmer is interesting, but it’s also a mechanism to get us into the mystery of an undocumented lunar facility, among other things. The family saga aspect of this novel – Nique, Mil’s granddaughter, aspires to an assignment on Mars, carrying their family further into space – really resonated with me, and I thought this generational storytelling was well-plotted. I felt like this was a real family, with real issues – Mil’s poking around adversely affects Nique’s career at one point – and grounded the science fiction in emotional truth. (Mil’s daughter Bailey is also exceptional – and may I just take a moment to compliment the author on writing fantastic female characters?)
Holmes has an exceptional ear for dialogue. The shifting between workplace banter and military professionalism was brilliantly executed, and helped to establish relationships between the character. Pacing, also, is a skill this author demonstrates ably. I never felt like there was too much exposition or that the mystery was solved too soon.
If you like family drama, mysteries, or solid science fiction, you will enjoy The Oxygen Farmer. If you enjoy all those things combined, or have a passion for any of them you will LOVE this book, as I did.
Goes well with: freeze-dried ice cream and Tang. Just kidding. A bacon cheeseburger, french fries, and a chocolate milkshake.
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
Signed hardcover of THE OXYGEN FARMER
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 11/22/23)
Visit the Other Great Blogs on This Tour
Click to visit the Lone Star Literary Life Tour Page for direct links to each blog post on this tour, updated daily, or visit each blog directly:
|11/13/23||The Clueless Gent||Review|
|11/13/23||Hall Ways Blog||BONUS Stop|
|11/14/23||Reading by Moonlight||Review|
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|11/16/23||Rebecca R. Cahill, Author||Review|
|11/17/23||It’s Not All Gravy||Review|
|11/19/23||Boys’ Mom Reads||Review|
|11/20/23||The Plain-Spoken Pen||Review|
|11/21/23||The Page Unbound||BONUS Stop|
|11/22/23||Chapter Break Book Blog||Review|
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