Travel Documents 50: The Interscission Project

The Interscission Project

Arshad Ahsanuddin 
Genre: far-future, corporate espionage, mystery

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The Dust Cover Copy

From Book 1: Grounded after a rescue attempt in Earth orbit goes bad, Commander Martin Atkins of the Confederation Navy is approached by the Interscission Project, a consortium of civilian corporations on the verge of perfecting the technology to travel to another star. Despite his misgivings, the chance to get back in the pilot’s seat is too much to pass up, and he convinces his best friend and crewmate, Charles Davenport, to leave the military temporarily and join him as part of the crew of the Zenith, humanity’s first starship.

Edward Harlen is a brilliant young engineer, and a key player in the construction of the Zenith to take advantage of the untested technology of foldspace drive. But Edward has his own agenda in joining the project, and a bitterly personal score to settle with his boss, Trevor Sutton, a vendetta of which Trevor is entirely ignorant. But when Edward’s sister Stella enters the picture and manages to secure a position on the project, all of Edward’s careful plotting is upset, and she might spell the downfall not only of his plans for revenge, but of the entire Zenith mission.

The spark of attraction between Edward and Martin is a complication that Edward can’t afford, but of which he can’t let go. For Edward knows the secret at the heart of the Interscission Project, the hidden potential of the technology that in the wrong hands could become the ultimate assassin’s weapon: the ability to rewrite history, not just once, but many times. As an unseen enemy moves to destroy them, and the body count multiplies in their wake, Martin and Edward must choose whether they will allow the possibility of love to challenge their destinies, or will they instead take up arms in a war to control the most ancient and terrible power in the universe.

The Deets

The Scene

Worldbuilding

In the classic manner of humanity, we go at a new technology in a series of fits, starts, misadventures, and well meaning mucking it up. This series does a wonderful job of framing the evolution of such a new technology. But when it’s time travel that you’re playing with, the stakes are high and the price for mistakes is massive. The convolutions and interpersonal intricacies of having several versions of one person running around, each living their own life, are compelling and quite in keeping with human behavior.

The hints of shadowy business interests, possible alien (?) influence in the background, various entities trying to swear blind that they’re only doing teleportation, and some truly brutal corporate war keeps everything nicely spiced with danger as humanity takes on its next big challenge: time, space, and the stars.

The Crowd

Characterization

We see this story through the eyes of an extensive and intriguing cast, but I’ll admit, the number of characters involved gave me the sense that too much of a good thing had been put in. I did enjoy my reads, but I did occasionally feel that the many characters began to blend into one another (no multiple-iteration jokes intended) and had to go back and check the cast page in the beginning of the book a couple of times. That’s not a good thing in my book; if the characters don’t stand out to me as separate entities on their own merits, I generally have a bit of trouble sticking with them. Now, that isn’t to say the people involved weren’t good and interesting when they were ‘on stage’, as it were. Each of the characters who played a part in the plot were coherent in themselves, and the romances and conflicts that appeared made complete sense. There are a lot of powerful motivations explored: the tug between love and duty. Between past and present loves. Between power and ethics. Between short term glory and long term gain. All of these held my attention, but I kept getting yanked away just as things got good! I just wished there had been more space given to a specific set of characters’ narratives, allowing them to expand and breathe. With such a wide cast, I often found myself feeling like the guest at a party who doesn’t really know anyone else attending, and is having trouble remembering anybody’s name.

The Lingo

Writing Style

Conceptually I liked the series…but following it gave me the urge to read something with a single point of view immediately after. Each scene in the story is crafted with skill, but the way they’re strung together is slightly distressing. Readers are told to keep up as the author jumps both through time and into a wide variety of points of view, using flashbacks, changes of perspective and changes of setting. Keeping track of it all regularly pulled me out of the story as a reader, which was a shame; this was the kind of story I had high hopes of!
I’ll sum it up by saying this: it has wonderful scenes and frustrating chapters.

Overall Rating

I found this series to be a bit of a brain twister, and it may take a bit of dedication in getting through. But if you’re looking for solid espionage adventure, plenty of m/m romance, and a peek at humanity’s future, this may be for you!