In The Mars One Incident, author Kelly Curtis takes us to an earth in the distant future, 2635. Humanity had made the decision some time ago that it was technology that was creating the angst and conflict in the war and it was decided to ditch all technology and cap the earth’s population at 13 Billion people. Most people on earth, in their blissful state, have no idea what those charged with protecting them are sometimes required to do. One of earth’s Guilds, that which is responsible for keeping earth safe from aliens and ensuring that rebels determined to reintroduce technology into humanity do not succeed, is paradoxically allowed to use and embrace technology, albeit sometimes scavenged technology from other planets and systems. Captain Alma Johnson is the youngest person to ever be appointed to a Starfleet command and is determined to prove her worth to all those who doubt her capabilities at the young age of 26. She is sent out on a mission to track down one of the rebel ships believed to be trying to bring technology to earth but she is not totally aware of all the backroom politics that may be taking place on this utopia non-technological earth.
The Mars One Incident is a fairly straightforward science fiction story that predicates an interesting proposition – that the use of technology is responsible for all of humanity’s woes and that by eliminating it we could reach a utopian state. Author Kelly Curtis has realized that to eliminate all technology would potentially be disastrous should there be internal dissension or indeed, external threat. The paradox of using technology to ensure there was no technology was not lost on me. I was impressed with the character the author has created in Alma Johnson. She is strong-willed, intelligent, and driven but it soon becomes very apparent that she also has a conscience and indeed an empathy for those who wish to bring technology back. I particularly enjoyed the way the author highlighted her frustration at being almost an “outcast” in a society that she was risking her life to protect. It makes you wonder if perhaps even today’s policemen have similar feelings. I noted that this is a debut novel for Curtis and also the beginning of a series featuring Alma Johnson and her crew. She has laid the groundwork with her interesting premise and first novel so I look for her to build on this work in upcoming sequels, perhaps a romance with her first officer might be on the cards.