The Last Astronaut by David Wellington

I’m on a real science-fiction kick at the moment, the more end-of-the-worldy the better (let’s call it, getting in the right mindset).

The Last Astronaut just about qualifies, I reckon.

Seventy odd years from now, an object appears in the solar system that may, or may not be, an alien space craft. As one would expect, the craft is on a collision course with Earth, so what’s left of NASA puts together a team to make contact with the whatever-it-is. The team, made up of quite a stereotypical bunch of barely-trained spacers, is led by Sally Jansen, the woman who is widely seen as responsible for the failure of the first Mars Mission thirty years before, in which a crew member met a rather grisly end. Since NASA was pretty much dismantled after the disaster, Sally is not just their best shot; she’s their only shot.

Quite a topical one this: I have a vague recollection of something travelling into telescope range a few years ago, that was a very similar shape to the one the author describes in the book; so now I know why they sometimes call this Speculative Fiction. This is a couple of hundred pages speculating what the object might be, and it’s a pretty scary guess.

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