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Station Armida


Lucie Lukačovičová: Stanice Armida (Station Armida)
Cover: Jana Šloufová

232 pages
Price: 290 CZK

Published by Club of Jules Verne, publishing house Pilgrim (Poutník), 2013

ISBN: 978-80-87246-33-7

EAN: 9788087246337

Mysterious suicide/murder at the Station Armida

by Julie Nováková, Aktuality, 4th February 2013, XB1, Monthly for SciFi, Fantasy, and Horror

http://www.casopisxb1.cz/aktuality/zahadna-sebevrazda-na-stanici-armida/ - in Czech

Review from above translated from Czech into English:

Psychologist and xenologist  Victor Frenchstone arrives  at the marginal space station in order to confirm whether suicide of an alien was really a suicide -  and becomes entangled in the net of unfortunate events.  Science fiction thriller Station Armida by Lucie Lukačovičová  is after a long time  the first representative of this genre by a Czech author. Therefore I was really curious if it was good. The start off was a bit slower and partially violated the well known rule “show, do not tell” -  the reader had to acquire more  information from  internal monologues of the characters and less from  their dialogues and actions. But when the action moved to the section M6 nicknamed Little India, this minor deficiency disappeared and there was more than enough of exploration of the characters and environment by the means of  “show”.

The motivation of Victor Frenchstone, why he did not simply sign the submitted form about the suicide after reading police report and started investigation instead, could have been shown more clearly.  On the other side the motivation of  his assistant, officer Alison Syntinen, was clear enough - her desire to solve her own case  without submitting to the  eternal protective wings of Nowak, the Head of Security Services at Armida. In Little India, Alison succeeds  in engaging herself in a demanding police action – something she has always desired.  But as it is sometimes the case in life – the fulfillment of this wish was not the luckiest move considering  its consequences ... Especially  the scenes  from Little India made me to deepen myself into the book and I enjoyed it very much. The action in  Little India  shows quite clearly  that the author spent in India several  months  and that she is well acquainted with the local culture.  Another arresting part was portraying the four alien races present at the Station - insectlike Opals with empathic capabilities, able-bodied reptiles Emeralds, warfare driven  Ambers and telepathic Silvers endowed with mainly silicon metabolism.

We have learnt a lot of interesting details about the Opals (the suicider, or the murder victim? is finally one of them), other races are defined more superficially but awoke in me considerable curiosity to find out more.  On couple of occasions, this lack of details does some harm – for example, the Emeralds could not possibly find out what they did as far as the knowledge of the reader goes.  Hopefully we will see the answer in the next planned   novel from  the same universe as the author is preparing a free  sequel, where the questions left unanswered in the Station Armida should be answered. The same with the case of the ship´s navigator –  let us wait and to be surprised.  It is  a shame when more rifles which hung on the wall were not used at all,  although on the other hand, if the shot would have fallen from all of them it would  have felt like a predictable cliché.

The characters in Armida are well portrayed, especially xenologist Frenchstone and his opponent,  temporary assistant Arkady Aisenjev.  The portrait of Alice was initially less vivid,  but in the course of the story, the reader got closer to her.  But I have to admit that my favorite character became the alien Silver,  nicknamed after a human Shane Green. It is the easiest for a reader to identify with the character which is closest to him - in my case, it  was “the Silicon Face”, as Silver is politically incorrectly dubbed, who became my favorite. I hope that we will be able to meet  Silver  in the sequel and get closer to him. It would be nice if the series of stories from the same universe would continue. The actual plot was original and interesting  even in comparison with first class foreign science fiction thrillers. The good thing was that science fiction  did not create a mere backdrop for crime investigation, which could in a slightly different form happen also today.  Space station, interstellar travel and alien races were only a prerequisite for the implementation of actions that Frenchstone with Aisenjev and Alison gradually reveal. At the same time, the author created by a rather surprising conclusion conditions for the next book from the same universe.   

In spite of small objections (some things without explanation which made sometimes  illogical impression including the behaviour of Alison in the end of the book which I have not mentioned before) I liked the book as a whole and because of the original plot it can certainly be considered above average achievement in this genre of the country and abroad.

Signing "Armida"