THE OXYGEN FARMER
Science Fiction / Space Mystery
Publisher: CamCat Books
Date of Publication: December 5, 2023
Number of Pages: 338 pages
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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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First off, I must admit that I am not a fan of sci-fi stories and seldom read them, but something about this one caught my attention. Perhaps it was the description of the central character, Millennium Harrison:
Presented as a cranky old oxygen farmer on the moon.
While I’m not an oxygen farmer, I am old and cranky and felt an immediate affinity with this character called Mil. The author did a great job in creating someone who was abrasive at times, but also very endearing and quite funny with a rather sardonic wit.
Once I started reading, I was drawn into the mystery of what was hidden there on the moon that was leaking so much radiation. Then when what the scope of the danger became known, there was a race to beat the ticking clock before something happened to sabotage the first trip to Mars. The pacing of the story added a drumbeat to that drama and created the tension needed to keep the pages of the book turning.
There’s just enough science to keep the story rooted in believability, and I found that all very interesting to read. But for me the characters are what make a book enjoyable. All the characters in this one come across as real, and the subplot of the dynamic between Mil and his daughter, and his granddaughter, was well done, adding another layer of tension to the story. The relationship Mil has with his daughter is in contrast to what he has with his granddaughter, and my hope while reading was that he and his daughter would find a way to heal the division that has had them estranged for years.
I’ll leave it up to you dear reader to pick up the book and find out if that happens. As well as learn whether the danger of the leaking radiation is averted, paving the way for the mission to Mars to go as planned. This is a book well worth reading for an enjoyable romp through outer space and sharing that romp with a terrific new character. I highly recommend it, even if you aren’t usually a fan of science fiction. After reading The Oxygen Farmer, you just might join the ranks.
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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Signed hardcover of THE OXYGEN FARMER
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 11/22/23)
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