The Last Astronaut
Mission Commander Sally Jansen is Earth’s last astronaut–and last hope–in this gripping near-future thriller where a mission to make first contact becomes a terrifying struggle for survival in the depths of space.Sally Jansen was NASA’s leading astronaut, until a mission to Mars ended in disaster. Haunted by her failure, she lives in quiet anonymity, convinced her days in space are over.She’s wrong.A large alien object has entered the solar system on a straight course toward Earth. It has made no attempt to communicate and is ignoring all incoming transmissions.Out of time and out of options, NASA turns to Jansen. For all the dangers of the mission, it’s the shot at redemption she always longed for.But as the object slowly begins to reveal its secrets, one thing becomes horribly clear: the future of humanity lies in Jansen’s hands.“A terrifying tour de force.” –James Rollins“Breathless, compulsive reading.” –Christopher Golden“Readers will be riveted.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)

The Last Astronaut Details

TitleThe Last Astronaut
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 23rd, 2019
PublisherOrbit
ISBN-139780356512297
Rating
GenreScience Fiction, Fiction, Horror

The Last Astronaut Review

  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    David Wellington may be one of the few author's who I would allow to take me into space. I love science fiction in movies and television. In books, eh, not so much! If I have to imagine it, then I guarantee that I will manage to scare the crap outta myself! This book wasn't near as terrifying as I expected. But, this story had heart. Also, the 👽 alien, " s"? was completely unexpected and downright scary without having to have blood and guts. Also, yes there is indeed blood and guts "of a kind!" David Wellington may be one of the few author's who I would allow to take me into space. I love science fiction in movies and television. In books, eh, not so much! If I have to imagine it, then I guarantee that I will manage to scare the crap outta myself! This book wasn't near as terrifying as I expected. But, this story had heart. Also, the 👽 alien, " s"? was completely unexpected and downright scary without having to have blood and guts. Also, yes there is indeed blood and guts "of a kind!" This is a book I'm happy to have read. My thanks to Orbit publishing, Netgalley and Mr. Wellington. Highly recommended! P.S. That ending...
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  • The Captain
    January 1, 1970
    Ahoy there mateys! Unpopular opinion time. This book has been described as Gravity, Alien, and The Martian combined. I should have loved this one but only managed to make it to the 4% mark. I was struggling with the narration style from the beginning. This is certainly a case of wrong book for this particular reader. But give it a shot if it sounds good to ye because the crew loves this one!I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for me honest musings. Grateful for the review copy. So s Ahoy there mateys! Unpopular opinion time. This book has been described as Gravity, Alien, and The Martian combined. I should have loved this one but only managed to make it to the 4% mark. I was struggling with the narration style from the beginning. This is certainly a case of wrong book for this particular reader. But give it a shot if it sounds good to ye because the crew loves this one!I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for me honest musings. Grateful for the review copy. So sorry that it didn't work out for me.
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  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    I devoured this book, probably one of the most addictive of my year so far, apart from a break when I had to work it was a one sitting read. Once you start you just have to get to the end.I do love a good first contact tale and this one was a doozy- fast paced action, twists and turns, hugely imaginative throughout and utterly unpredictable. The scene setting is superb, the characters all intriguing and it’s one of those stories you just live the entire time you are reading it.The science is utt I devoured this book, probably one of the most addictive of my year so far, apart from a break when I had to work it was a one sitting read. Once you start you just have to get to the end.I do love a good first contact tale and this one was a doozy- fast paced action, twists and turns, hugely imaginative throughout and utterly unpredictable. The scene setting is superb, the characters all intriguing and it’s one of those stories you just live the entire time you are reading it.The science is utterly believable, the human aspects all gripping and overall it’s a pure adrenalin rush of a read with a pitch perfect resonant ending.Very clever. Brilliant. Highly Recommended.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    The Last Astronaut doesn’t waste too much time getting to the heart of the issue, which I loved. it maintained a pretty quick pace throughout the book, alternating between bouts of action and bouts of discoveries about this alien object. The setting and tone are consistently dark, grim, desolate, and lonely. The image of lights on a space suit cutting through a misty darkness were used repeatedly, which is perfect for this kind of book.Which is why it baffles me that I didn’t love it more than I The Last Astronaut doesn’t waste too much time getting to the heart of the issue, which I loved. it maintained a pretty quick pace throughout the book, alternating between bouts of action and bouts of discoveries about this alien object. The setting and tone are consistently dark, grim, desolate, and lonely. The image of lights on a space suit cutting through a misty darkness were used repeatedly, which is perfect for this kind of book.Which is why it baffles me that I didn’t love it more than I did? Unfortunately, and this could just be the mood I was in, I found it really easy to pick this book up, but I also found it really easy to put the book down. I never dreaded picking it up again, and I definitely wanted to finish, but I wish it had compelled me a little more, kept me up late at night because I just had to see what happened next.I will say the last 25% had me glued to the page so it ends much stronger than it started. If I had to pinpoint where I struggled with this book I can point to two factors, one of which is a spoiler, but the other of which is the characters. I did like all of them, but I think the character I connected to most, Sunny Stevens, the guy who kick starts the whole book, is absent from the 2nd half. He is the comic relief, he is the character that feels most alive to me. All the other characters are serious, grim types. Which is fine- most scientists probably are that way, but I really needed his jolt of personality to keep me caring about the events of the book. The other characters all feel human enough, I wouldn’t say any of them feel shallow or flat, but they just weren’t characters I connected to. Your mileage may vary.The writing is great. Descriptive enough to give you the idea and convey the tone without lingering too long on it or slowing down the pace. The length also feels just right. At 400 pages, we’re given just what is needed to tell the story, it’s not bloated but it doesn’t feel like any details were left out either.The format of the book is that we are reading an in-world book that has been written about these events after they have happened. It’s interspersed with little side snippets of what I thought of as confessions or transcripts from the characters themselves talking to (who I presume) is NASA. I personally enjoyed the format, and it definitely added a layer of impending doom to many of the scenes, but I know that’s not everyone’s cup of tea.The ending is perfect, and I won’t lie, it made me tear up a little. Overall a good read that’s well worth checking out if you like a good alien, sci-fi horror mash up. Thank you to NetGalley and Orbit for providing me with an eARC for review.The Last Astronaut releases on July 23, 2019
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  • OutlawPoet
    January 1, 1970
    Ground Control to Major T…………OMG, WHAT IS THAT THING????Lol – so, I admit it. When I started reading this book, the background music in my mind was totally Ground Control to Major Tom. I was digging our space scenes, marveling at the amount of detail and danger that the author put into his book, and, even with some tragic scenes, kind of in a state of zen-enjoyment.And then. Oh, and then…The background music changed. Instead of David Bowie, I heard creaks and groans and drips and screams and tha Ground Control to Major T…………OMG, WHAT IS THAT THING????Lol – so, I admit it. When I started reading this book, the background music in my mind was totally Ground Control to Major Tom. I was digging our space scenes, marveling at the amount of detail and danger that the author put into his book, and, even with some tragic scenes, kind of in a state of zen-enjoyment.And then. Oh, and then…The background music changed. Instead of David Bowie, I heard creaks and groans and drips and screams and that eerie silence that comes when you know SOMETHING IS GOING TO GET YOU!I loved this. Every moment of it. I’ve already recommended it to a bunch of people and I want it to be a movie – not starring Sigourney Weaver, but I’d like her to have a cameo in it.An amazing mix of hard science, action, and pure adrenaline SF.Five. Perfect. Stars.*ARC Provided via Net Galley
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    Written in the form of a post-event investigation which includes transcribed audio 'confessionals', video records, assorted information excerpts, and multiple POVs, this is a book that presents First Contact through a vividly personal lens. It aims for reality and for the most part, succeeds. This style keeps it high energy and pacey as hell, for a time at least. The opening section and initial stages were really well done, full of fear and disaster. The whole experience feels like every nightma Written in the form of a post-event investigation which includes transcribed audio 'confessionals', video records, assorted information excerpts, and multiple POVs, this is a book that presents First Contact through a vividly personal lens. It aims for reality and for the most part, succeeds. This style keeps it high energy and pacey as hell, for a time at least. The opening section and initial stages were really well done, full of fear and disaster. The whole experience feels like every nightmare you've ever had of space, and that's both its strength and its weakness. It means that when it's done well, your own trepidation and horror builds on what's in the text to produce an anxiety-inducing, stomach roiling, 'thank f**k I'm not there' kind of reaction. Not only is there a proximity with other people issue that forms the baseline for awful, the tension is ramped up with outrageously gut wrenching moments of sheer terror. There's one particular medical bay moment of Alien-esque proportions that stressed me to the max. So much NOPE. I don't know about you but whatever happens to this planet and regardless of tech improvements, I'm not going to space. And this book is a perfect example of why. The familiarity of this emotional reaction is what invests the reader in the story and even if we've read it/seen it before, who cares if it's fun? But the problem with that is when the engagement goes away, the tick box tropes and lack of originality become all the more glaring.Just over halfway through something goes wrong. Lots for the characters, even more for the reader. It became a slog and I'm not entirely sure why. It certainly lost its vivacity and impetus. Perhaps because there's an over reliance on description- yes, it's cool to create an alien spacecraft and I know you want to tell people about every aspect of it, but it's still not as important as the characters, who suddenly become much more like stereotypical versions of themselves at this point. On top of that, it all gets just a bit far-fetched. Yes, I'm really going to use that word. The ending is so contrived that its way too far beyond credulity. When an event or scene is supposed to raise a hearty cheer for humanity and instead gets an eye roll, you know it's a miss. And that's a real shame, because there are some stunningly imaginative sections. I'd certainly read the author again, but this didn't really work that well for me by the end. ARC via Netgalley
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  • Tammie
    January 1, 1970
    The Last Astronaut, a science fiction book, was a solid 4 stars. With a large cast of characters, The Last Astronaut centers around main character Sally Jansen, a retired astronaut that left NASA after disastrous mission. Sally is pulled out of retirement to lead an expedition when a large object is discovered to be heading towards Earth. This isn’t just any large object-it’s “behavior” is unlike any other, showing signs of possible intelligence. Terrifying and creepy stuff that science fiction The Last Astronaut, a science fiction book, was a solid 4 stars. With a large cast of characters, The Last Astronaut centers around main character Sally Jansen, a retired astronaut that left NASA after disastrous mission. Sally is pulled out of retirement to lead an expedition when a large object is discovered to be heading towards Earth. This isn’t just any large object-it’s “behavior” is unlike any other, showing signs of possible intelligence. Terrifying and creepy stuff that science fiction fans will absolutely love! The Last Astronaut is a fast-pace and addictive book that is perfect for readers that enjoy science fiction and action books. Thank you NetGalley for proving me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Lilyn G. | Sci-Fi & Scary
    January 1, 1970
    Review up soon.This was freaking fantastic, folks.Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Netgalley for review consideration.
  • Empress Reece (Hooked on Books)
    January 1, 1970
    This book takes all of your preconceived notions about aliens and first contact and throws them right out the window. That's one of the reasons I liked it so much; you never knew what to expect and the author kept you on your toes and guessing throughout the entire mission. It also made me reevaluate my thoughts on our vast universe.*I received this ARC from Goodreads Firstreads in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
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  • laurel [suspected bibliophile]
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsWhen a horrific incident scrapped her mission to Mars and turned her into the women who lost the second space race, Sally Janson never expected she'd return to space. Until a mysterious object brings NASA back into the forefront of importance and Sally back into a job—because she's the only person on Earth with the skills necessary to lead a mission to a potentially alien spacecraft.I wasn't expecting this to be straight up horror, but that's exactly what it is. Think Annihilation with 3.5 starsWhen a horrific incident scrapped her mission to Mars and turned her into the women who lost the second space race, Sally Janson never expected she'd return to space. Until a mysterious object brings NASA back into the forefront of importance and Sally back into a job—because she's the only person on Earth with the skills necessary to lead a mission to a potentially alien spacecraft.I wasn't expecting this to be straight up horror, but that's exactly what it is. Think Annihilation with a little bit of the creepy shit that happens in The Luminous Dead and some of the danger of Gravity, and you've got this book.First contact was scary, thrilling and I didn't want to put this down even though I was exhausted and knew it was probably going to give me nightmares (it did).While I felt like a lot of the characters were bland stereotypes, it was engaging and entertaining. Sally Jansen was...okay? I was kinda curious why her name was Sally, since she would have been born around 2010 and who the hell names their child Sally in 2010 (it hasn't cracked the top 1000 in 15 years)?? I dunno. It seemed weird. Okay, I get maybe it's an homage to Sally Ride but still. The rest of the cast is kinda forgettable, which isn't helped by the fact that it's told with a lot of secondhand afterwards. I know, I'm being very nitpicky. But names and characterizations aside, this was thrilling and engaging and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time.I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.
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  • Bandit
    January 1, 1970
    I’m absolutely delighted to be the first person reviewing this book, because it’s awesome and I’ve got great things to say about it. Wellington first came to my attention with his Monster Island trilogy, one of the first zombie books I’ve read and a great story in itself. I mean I still remember the twist from it, that says a lot. But actually my preference has always been toward standalones. When his latest appeared on Netgalley, I requested it without even reading the plot summary. I figured t I’m absolutely delighted to be the first person reviewing this book, because it’s awesome and I’ve got great things to say about it. Wellington first came to my attention with his Monster Island trilogy, one of the first zombie books I’ve read and a great story in itself. I mean I still remember the twist from it, that says a lot. But actually my preference has always been toward standalones. When his latest appeared on Netgalley, I requested it without even reading the plot summary. I figured this guy has got the chops to tell a good astronaut story and I was right. The eponymous space adventurer is Sally Jansen, the woman who almost singlehandedly put NASA…well, not out of business, but certainly operating in reduced dimensions. Space voyaging is finicky business…one disastrous mission and it’s all over. All Sally wanted was to go to Mars, but a technical glitch resulted in a horrific (and televised) death of another astronaut and that was that. No one wants that sort of publicity, no one can get funding with that kind of publicity. Sally Jansen retired from NASA and NASA retired from active space ventures, concentrating instead on the theoretical studies, satellites, etc. The active duties have been taken over by private companies, such as KSpace. 21 years pass and suddenly a large object is discovered on a collision course with Earth and the twist is that it doesn’t behave like a mindless celestial body, it’s decelerating on its own accord, which shows intelligence. Terrifying, isn’t it. Well, that’s nothing. The real terror begins a hastily put together mission sets of to investigate. And who best to lead to team than the last person to have done so years ago…enter the last astronaut. KSpace, of course, also sends a ship. Now there are two teams trying to figure out an alien craft unlike any they might have imagined or tried to understand before. This is where earth logic fails. This is where nightmares begin. This is a story of First Contact like no other. And it’s fun, oh so much fun. Very heavily laced with technology and logistics, often to a weighing down effect, this novel is rendered with such meticulous detail that it makes for a fairly slow read, but what it offers in exchange is a completely immersive reading experience. An exchange well worth it. It reads not just with cinematic vividness, but almost like…well, like a virtual reality experience if there was technology available to do so realistically. The alien ship and its forbidding darkness and terrifying secrets are executed with haunting stark realism. It’s very, very difficult to put this book down. The characters will engage you too, especially Sally, who gets a strangely appropriate ending tribute, but the writing and descriptions are what will draw you in and have you glued for the duration and looking up cautiously in the night sky afterwards. What an awesome space adventure. Recommended for all fans of science fiction. Thanks Netgalley.
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  • Toya
    January 1, 1970
    Sally Jansen, NASA’s top astronaut, was the Mission Commander for space mission Orbit 6, which was going to make her one of the first humans to walk on Mars. Her dreams come crashing down when the mission results in the death of one of her colleagues/direct reports. While no one directly blamed Jansen, she left NASA anyways.Fast forward a couple of decades, and Dr. Sunny Stevens of KSpace approaches NASA with sensitive data that suggests the discovery of an alien spaceship not too far outside of Sally Jansen, NASA’s top astronaut, was the Mission Commander for space mission Orbit 6, which was going to make her one of the first humans to walk on Mars. Her dreams come crashing down when the mission results in the death of one of her colleagues/direct reports. While no one directly blamed Jansen, she left NASA anyways.Fast forward a couple of decades, and Dr. Sunny Stevens of KSpace approaches NASA with sensitive data that suggests the discovery of an alien spaceship not too far outside of Earth’s orbit. Since the catastrophic mission of Orbit 6, astronauts are in short supply at NASA because the training programs were scrubbed. With only a four month deadline, NASA rehires Sally as MC to lead the mission to investigate the alien spaceship.I had really high hopes for this book based off of the premise, but this one definitely fell short of my expectations. I wanted an awesome alien invasion, and I just wanted to love this book. But I didn’t. It was middle of the road.The pacing of the plot was off. There were moments that the plot was a painful slow burn that consisted of dialogue between the astronauts while waiting for something to happen then thrown into very tense scenes where we were introduced to the creepy space ship.I wasn’t able to connect with any of the characters in the book, and their character arcs were underdeveloped. We didn’t see any sort of character development over time. What you say at first was pretty much what you got.I don’t mean for this review to sound overly cynical, I just wanted this book to be more than what it was. It had the potential to be great, but it just wasn’t.Thank you to Orbit Books and NetGalley for providing an eARC. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    This has such an excellent premise - I love First Contact stories - and I did enjoy parts of it very much. However, I was a little disappointed at the direction that it took, heading into familiar and well-trodden, predictable territory, which is far more horror than science fiction. I was also sorry to see that a main character developed in such a stereotypical way. Nevertheless, an entertaining read. Review to follow shortly on For Winter Nights.
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  • Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
    January 1, 1970
    3.0 StarsVideo Review: https://youtu.be/XNus6NoO50kThis is the kind of story that would make a fantastic movie. While reading this novel, I kept envisioning the plot as a blockbuster movie with amazing cinematography. The story was fast paced and action packed with a few rather gory scenes that would be visually stunning on the big screen. I would not be surprised if this novel gets adapted in the future.Unfortunately, the elements that make for an amazing film experience don’t necessarily work 3.0 StarsVideo Review: https://youtu.be/XNus6NoO50kThis is the kind of story that would make a fantastic movie. While reading this novel, I kept envisioning the plot as a blockbuster movie with amazing cinematography. The story was fast paced and action packed with a few rather gory scenes that would be visually stunning on the big screen. I would not be surprised if this novel gets adapted in the future.Unfortunately, the elements that make for an amazing film experience don’t necessarily work as well on the page. The characters and plot were a bit cliche in places and story took a while to get going. I didn’t become invested in the story until around 150 pages, over 40% into the novel. However, once the main storyline got started, I was pulled in and wanted to know what was going to happen. One of the best aspects of this novel was the suspense. The author created a good sense of dread as the group of astronauts attempted to make first contact. As a horror writer, Wellington brought elements on that genre into this story.  There were some great descriptions of some rather gruesome settings which I personally quite enjoyed.Within the novel, the author interjected  some interviews with fictional professionals who shared their perspectives on the mission. Those sections were a bit meta, but I personally didn't care for them. I just didn't feel like they added anything to the story. As far as science fiction goes, I think this one was quite accessible to readers who don’t normally read the genre. Set in the near future, the technology and world building were familiar and easy to understand. So if you enjoy near future science fiction stories with plenty of action and a little gore, then you may want to check out this one for yourself. Disclaimer: I requested a copy from the publisher, Orbit Books.
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  • Geonn Cannon
    January 1, 1970
    A bit of Gravity, a fair bit of Arrival, with the horror of Annihilation and Alien, this book takes the best part of some great scifi movies to make something new, unique, and well worth a read if you (like me) are intrigued by the cover.
  • Jypsy
    January 1, 1970
    I like space science fiction stuff to a certain degree. The Last Astronaut was just a bit too scientific for my taste. Lots of jargon and bits I don't really understand. I get slowed down to a crawl and ready to give up. I forced myself to continue because the idea is good, and going to Mars would be awesome. I was creeped out by some parts of the story. It's thrilling and suspenseful and engaging if you can slog through the science word jungle. I don't think I would read it again, but it's not I like space science fiction stuff to a certain degree. The Last Astronaut was just a bit too scientific for my taste. Lots of jargon and bits I don't really understand. I get slowed down to a crawl and ready to give up. I forced myself to continue because the idea is good, and going to Mars would be awesome. I was creeped out by some parts of the story. It's thrilling and suspenseful and engaging if you can slog through the science word jungle. I don't think I would read it again, but it's not a bad book. I'm not the perfect type of reader for this, but others definitely are and will love it. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Blair
    January 1, 1970
    I found this intriguing at first but my interest began to wane at around 16%, and after skimming some more I wasn't inclined to change my mind. It reminded me a lot of Into the Drowning Deep (which I also started off enjoying, but ended up bored by) and aside from Sally, I wasn't interested in any of the characters.Review copy via NetGalley.
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  • J.S. Green
    January 1, 1970
    All Sally Jansen ever wanted to do was to go to Mars, to be the first person to walk its red sand. But a disastrous mid-journey leak forced her to make a split-second decision, and one of her crew died in order to save herself and the rest. The NASA program was moth-balled and the US lost its edge in space exploration, and with it her chance to ever go back into space. Until an inter-stellar object is found entering the solar system, and even altering its trajectory to bring it into a collision All Sally Jansen ever wanted to do was to go to Mars, to be the first person to walk its red sand. But a disastrous mid-journey leak forced her to make a split-second decision, and one of her crew died in order to save herself and the rest. The NASA program was moth-balled and the US lost its edge in space exploration, and with it her chance to ever go back into space. Until an inter-stellar object is found entering the solar system, and even altering its trajectory to bring it into a collision course with Earth. It's obviously not an asteroid but a spaceship, and Sally is the only one still qualified to lead an expedition to make contact and find out if the alien's intentions are peaceful or not.This is an interesting story of speculation on alien life. It's rather heavy at times with information about what space is like, which I understand is popular especially in the wake of books like The Martian. But it's also quite slow-moving, and it took me a while to get interested. The characters don't always behave rationally - Jansen is continually blaming herself for her colleague's death so many years before, another has an insta-crush on another crew member - and although these things are sorta explained as part of the plot, it was annoying and just tended to drag down the story in repetition. Still, I enjoyed reading The Last Astronaut - it was a good read. I probably won't go looking for more like it, but it was kind of fun and interesting. And thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a digital advance copy.
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  • Onceinabluemoon
    January 1, 1970
    This was great fun, I listened to the audio and thought it was excellent. I was working outdoors and would find myself whipping my head around as the music slinked in, only heightening the suspense. It was creative and different and I loved the ice world as I toiled in 103 degree temps in my garden. Not a scfi fan but this grabbed me in fast as we hurdled towards mars.
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  • Sophie
    January 1, 1970
    Wellington's novel is full of suspense, anticipation, intrigue and a drag of filler; a bit less terrifying if one's already familiar with Syfy's Expanse, Scott's Alien, Clarke's Rendevous with Rama, and Lovecraft, but still its own story.The copy was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley.
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  • Elaine
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley for a Kindle ARC of The Last Astronaut. ** Minor spoilers ahead ** Twenty years ago, astronaut Sally Jensen was one of the few female astronauts heading the space race to Mars. A disaster aboard her ship ended her career and left her demoralized and traumatized.Now, twenty years later, a scientist working in the private sector has detected something strange in the solar system headed straight for Earth. An alien space craft. And there is only one woman who can lead the expe Thanks to NetGalley for a Kindle ARC of The Last Astronaut. ** Minor spoilers ahead ** Twenty years ago, astronaut Sally Jensen was one of the few female astronauts heading the space race to Mars. A disaster aboard her ship ended her career and left her demoralized and traumatized.Now, twenty years later, a scientist working in the private sector has detected something strange in the solar system headed straight for Earth. An alien space craft. And there is only one woman who can lead the expedition to make contact with this new life form. The Last Astronaut has all the makings of a great sci-novel and movie; decent characters, a heroine, diverse characters, politics and ALIENS! But, I read this for the aliens. I'm not going to lie. Just the aliens, ma'am.And I wished I could say I loved this. I didn't. It was okay.There's a lot of description, a lot of world building of the alien space craft, and what Jansen and her crew encounter when entering the craft, which is just fine and dandy, but all the descriptions somehow brought me out of the story.Jansen and her crew encounter frightening scenarios as they make their slow and treacherous progress aboard the craft. But...it just took so long for anything to happen.There's plenty of sci-fi mumbo jumbo, astronaut speak, and I'm thankful the author took the time to do his research. The writing was good, but the jargon slowed the pace.Also, I didn't like Jansen as much as I thought I would. I didn't hate her, but something about her bugged me. I understood her regret and guilt that her last space mission ended in tragedy but there were so many times during this mission where she made rash and ridiculous decisions, I had to remind myself that she's the mission commander. An astronaut in the not so distant future where the space program has been, basically, terminated.Next, I didn't think the not-quite-romance between Rao and Stevens was necessary at all.Like I say time and time again, romance is not a prerequisite in a book. You don't have to be romantically involved to care about a person.I was looking for more urgency, more blood, more people running amok being chased by, you know, scary f**king 'Aliens.'But I did like how Sally's arc is wrapped up in the end.
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  • Nicholas Kaufmann
    January 1, 1970
    An excellent, well-crafted novel that mixes science fiction and horror with masterful results, THE LAST ASTRONAUT is full of adventure, mystery, and terror. In some ways, it reminds me of Jeff VanderMeer's ANNIHILATION, with its human characters trying to make sense of completely alien surroundings, and in other ways it reminds me of a haunted house story, where the farther our characters explore, the more its secrets are revealed -- sometimes terrible, sometimes awe-inspiring, and sometimes ine An excellent, well-crafted novel that mixes science fiction and horror with masterful results, THE LAST ASTRONAUT is full of adventure, mystery, and terror. In some ways, it reminds me of Jeff VanderMeer's ANNIHILATION, with its human characters trying to make sense of completely alien surroundings, and in other ways it reminds me of a haunted house story, where the farther our characters explore, the more its secrets are revealed -- sometimes terrible, sometimes awe-inspiring, and sometimes inexplicable. David Wellington has done a fantastic job not just with his use of realistic science but also with creating something so completely alien that it seems insurmountably unknowable. I hope this novel gets the attention it deserves. It's one of Wellington's best yet.
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  • Kend
    January 1, 1970
    Welcome to the world, The Last Astronaut! Just ... keep your manifold teeth and hands and tendrils tucked away tight, alright?There are a lot of different kinds of ways of writing science fiction horror novels that deal with the alien Other, all of which will be familiar to a fan of the genre in either book or film format. There's the alien Other which is impenetrably impossible to communicate with (I'm thinking of something along the lines of the alien Other in the Strugatsky brothers' Roadsid Welcome to the world, The Last Astronaut! Just ... keep your manifold teeth and hands and tendrils tucked away tight, alright?There are a lot of different kinds of ways of writing science fiction horror novels that deal with the alien Other, all of which will be familiar to a fan of the genre in either book or film format. There's the alien Other which is impenetrably impossible to communicate with (I'm thinking of something along the lines of the alien Other in the Strugatsky brothers' Roadside Picnic ). There's the alien Other which is not only difficult to communicate with, but very much predatory and full of teeth perfectly designed to tear into human flesh (I'm thinking of the alien Other in, well, the Alien franchise). There are lots of alien Others that are chatty and benevolent, chatty and chaotic neutral, and which otherwise run the gamut of possibilities.The alien Other in The Last Astronaut will feel familiar to fans of Star Trek, I think. It's definitely horrifying, and communication is difficult, and there are lots of teeth on display, but it is also possible to understand and communicate with this alien Other on some level, even if both understanding and communication are incomplete and incomprehensible in full. It draws its power from both body horror (the grotesque) and, simply put, its power to simply overwhelm (the sublime). It's not a bad approach, and the novel is in many ways well-designed to capitalize on the power of the grotesque.There are, however, a few structural and stylistic elements which prevented me from being swept away as I like to be in a good work of horror, science fictional or otherwise; simply put, the characters often feel wooden. I appreciate almost all of them in concept, but I certainly didn't ever feel they were real in a way that made me care too much about their ultimate fates. This is unfortunate, given that a reader will have to spend roughly 400 pages with them, and it's difficult to be truly horrified when one doesn't care about a character's fate. There are two or three sections of the book where the plot gets bogged down in simply getting the characters from point A to point B, which probably doesn't help. Had this book been through just one more round of heavy editing, and slowed down just a bit more to give the characters personality and depth, this would have been a rollicking good time. As it stands, it's still good. It's still a good time. Just without any rollicking.Don't get me wrong; I would never be able to write a book this good, I don't think. As a reader, however, it ticked some of my boxes. Just not all.
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  • Tawana Howard
    January 1, 1970
    I received this ebook through #goodreadsgiveaway.The Last Astronaut is set mostly in outer space in the near-ish future. The story starts by introducing you to all the main characters with some small background story. I found most of the main characters very likeable. Sally Jensen is the only "real" astronaut on the mission and she is in her fifties. She was once the first female mc for a space mission and on her way to Mars when the unthinkable happens and she loses an astronaut. After her fail I received this ebook through #goodreadsgiveaway.The Last Astronaut is set mostly in outer space in the near-ish future. The story starts by introducing you to all the main characters with some small background story. I found most of the main characters very likeable. Sally Jensen is the only "real" astronaut on the mission and she is in her fifties. She was once the first female mc for a space mission and on her way to Mars when the unthinkable happens and she loses an astronaut. After her failed mission, the government pretty much abandoned space missions and Nasa. Jensen has left the space scene and tried to move on with her life. Though she has been called several times by an old friend to come back to Nasa , it has never really worked out. Her crew is not much in the way of fellow astronauts. None of the others have been in space before. She never planned on going back to space herself, but now the world needs her, so away she goes. So, the main thing I loved about this book was the sci-fi channel movie feeling. I immediately felt transported back in time to my living room floor watching the Aliens movies. The way that space is described while the characters are working outside there shuttles is exactly how I think about it. I have had dreams about falling off the rings of Saturn many times, LOL. And that is what Jensen describes. She cannot make her human mind come to terms with there being no up and down and worries about falling through space when she lets go of her shuttle. There was real fear in this book too! The unknown life forms are something else. I started to get an idea about the spaceship early on in the book, but being right did not provide me any relief. The monsters in this story are scary. There are several things in the book that the characters have to overcome besides the obvious. Psychological damage from being in the dark for to long. Paranoia from all the fear and mental issues they suffer. This was a great story. There were a couple of errors in the ebook, not big enough to mess with the story. I felt like there was too much description and carrying on about the hand trees. The amount of times the characters would go into detail and freak out about them really started to annoy me towards th end, when they had already come into contact with them multiple times and pretty much knew they were not what they needed to be afraid of.I did like the story and I read it in one sitting. I would definitely pick up another book by this author.
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  • Ernest
    January 1, 1970
    On the one hand, this is really good hard sf with a Stephen Baxter / Arthur C. Clarke vibe. On the other, it's a mashup of Rendevous with Rama and the Expanse with a fair amount of Alien thrown in. When a large interstellar object come at us from out of the ecliptic plane of the solar system, it's exciting news, but when one decelerates and changes course for Earth, it's problematic as well. Still exciting, but mostly terrifying. NASA should send a mission to investigate, and as this is set in 2 On the one hand, this is really good hard sf with a Stephen Baxter / Arthur C. Clarke vibe. On the other, it's a mashup of Rendevous with Rama and the Expanse with a fair amount of Alien thrown in. When a large interstellar object come at us from out of the ecliptic plane of the solar system, it's exciting news, but when one decelerates and changes course for Earth, it's problematic as well. Still exciting, but mostly terrifying. NASA should send a mission to investigate, and as this is set in 2055, you'd think that was a no brainer. Except for the failure of the Orion 6 Mars mission in 2034, which led to the shutdown of manned spaceflight. Sally Jansen, the mission commander of that voyage made it back to earth with most of her crew but was never able to let go of the choices she had to make to do that. Nor did the public let her forget them.But we still need to go, and so NASA pulls out the Orion 7 capsule it's been keeping in storage, swaps out all the parts that might have decayed, and puts Sally back in the big red chair. The world may see her as the woman who killed our chances to go to Mars, but NASA's director sees her in a different light. Also along are Sunny Steven's the astrophysicst who dicovered the object, Rao, an exobiologist, and Major Windsor Hawkins. It's a NASA mission, or will be, right up to the moment we decide the object presents a danger to earth. Which, really was the moment it started changing course towards the planet, but we can pretend, can't we?What follows is part high tech space drama, part trip through a Stranger Things version of Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama, and an impressive examination of how different minds and cultures approach a problem. NASA, scientists, the military, alien life, and oh yes...KSpace. KSpace stands in for SpaceX here, or whatever comes after it, sending its own mission to the object, with a completely different mindset than the others, one that jumps right in and sees everyone else as competition. After eons traveling in the cold of interstellar space, the object is waking up, and no matter what anyone expected to find, the truth is much, much, weirder and more terrifying. Unless you've watched the Expanse, seen Alien, read Rendevous with Rama, and enjoy Lovecraft. Then, less so, but it's still its own story.If there's a sequel, it might be Dune with a bit of Stranger in a Strange Land for spice. But probably not.
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  • Kath
    January 1, 1970
    I'm still cutting my teeth on Sci-Fi genre so I am clueless in where this book stands when compared to others but I did find parts of the book a little hard to follow especially with all the flitting around in time and POV. But I did get it eventually and, once it clicked, it started to flow a bit better for me. Sally Jensen is one of the old school NASA Astronauts. The last mission when went on went horribly wrong and she lost one of her crew. The government Space Program was disbanded and her I'm still cutting my teeth on Sci-Fi genre so I am clueless in where this book stands when compared to others but I did find parts of the book a little hard to follow especially with all the flitting around in time and POV. But I did get it eventually and, once it clicked, it started to flow a bit better for me. Sally Jensen is one of the old school NASA Astronauts. The last mission when went on went horribly wrong and she lost one of her crew. The government Space Program was disbanded and her life took a different path. But there is something approaching Earth. Something big, something that others have dismissed as just an asteroid or of that ilk. But one man is following it and notices that it isn't obeying the laws of physics and thus isn't inert. All attempts to communicate are futile so, the only path left is to resurrect the Space Program and launch a mission to, well, make First Contact! I'm not going to spoil things so I will just say that things in space don't go quite according to plan...There's quite a bit of setting up to be found in the early parts of this book. But, once it gets going, really gets going, it's all a bit of a mad rush to the end. Not necessarily all wholly convincing in my opinion but jolly good fun in parts which helped move things along.Characterisation was, on the whole, good. There are some great interactions between major characters and also, and you gotta love, a bit of personality clashing and control freaking. I did get a bit confused with some of the characters as there were quite a lot of them and some of them sort of melded into each other for me as I struggled to keep them distinct. I might have been better writing a cast list down (as I sometimes do) but I didn't think of this early enough for it to have worked.The ending, when it came was also good, leaving me satisfied although marred a bit by some of the leading up to, parts of which I had to re-read before I eventually got it. That's probably my fault being still a bit green with the genre, rather than that of the author though.All in all, a solid read that did keep my interest mostly throughout. My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
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  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    January 1, 1970
    4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2019/07/22/...For years there has been a moratorium on manned space flight, and Sally Jensen can’t help but feel she’s responsible, after a decision of hers led to the death of crew mate on her last mission. It didn’t matter that her quick thinking also saved lives, the space programs of the world decided that it was too great a risk. But now, a mysterious object has been sighted entering our solar system, slowing makings its way toward 4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2019/07/22/...For years there has been a moratorium on manned space flight, and Sally Jensen can’t help but feel she’s responsible, after a decision of hers led to the death of crew mate on her last mission. It didn’t matter that her quick thinking also saved lives, the space programs of the world decided that it was too great a risk. But now, a mysterious object has been sighted entering our solar system, slowing makings its way towards Earth. No one knows what it is or what it wants, but everyone wants to find out whether it will be a threat to the planet. Scrambling to put together a team to investigate, NASA seeks out the now retired Jensen because no other astronaut has the wealth of knowledge and experience that she does.But NASA isn’t the only ones interested in what might be humanity’s first alien contact. KSpace, a private sector aerospace company, also wants in on the action. This means that Jensen only has mere months to get ready for the mission of a lifetime, making the most out of her limited resources and an inexperienced crew that she hardly knows. Everyone has also heard about the ignominious way her career ended, so she’s determined to prove herself and not let any harm come to her people. Unfortunately for her though, the aliens didn’t get the memo. Immediately upon reaching the mysterious object, Jensen and her team realize just how unprepared they all were to handle what they find inside.For readers who love movies like Alien or The Thing, The Last Astronaut will likely scratch a particular itch. David Wellington is also a well-known horror writer, so it’s not surprising that after a while the story takes a sudden and drastic turn down this path. If you’re seeking a more traditional tale of alien first contact, this book might not be for you, but on the other hand, readers looking for a skin-crawling, claustrophobic and eerie journey through some psychologically dark and disturbing places will probably want to check this one out. Stepping into unknown territory, the characters will encounter sights both strange and nightmarish, some of which have clear signs of influence from sci-fi horror cinema.I also enjoyed the way this story was structured, with Wellington going for a rather cheeky approach to its presentation. Namely, he has injected himself into the book, playing the role of dutiful chronicler writing about Jensen’s mission as if it has actually happened, hence why we sometimes get the occasional “interruption” from a few of the characters themselves, wishing to expand upon something in the writing or to clarify a point. It was a little distracting at first (especially when you’re doing this book in audio) and admittedly I think these brief snippets took a bit away from the horror tone and atmosphere. However, after a while I grew used to them, and even started to appreciate the levity they added.For all the efforts put into developing this story and the characters though, ultimately this was a pretty superficial novel. That said, I wouldn’t say I was too disappointed, considering how everything I got out of it was in line with my expectations. Still, I wouldn’t have minded seeing more character development, getting more a feeling that their lives and motivations mattered. Like a TV movie, The Last Astronaut delivered the entertainment and thrills, which was great because it was what I wanted, but there was also potential for it to be so much more.Bottom line, I think The Last Astronaut just missed its mark to be truly great, but it was still a very compulsive read which employed some unique narrative devices and interesting ideas. The overall atmosphere was delicious, and I found parts of quite immersive and at times downright terrifying. Nothing too earthshattering, but it’s a good choice if you’re lookina sci-fi novel with a strong undercurrent of macabre horror.Audiobook Comments: Smoothly narrated by Megan Tusing, the audiobook of The Last Astronaut was pretty awesome to listen to, especially with all the creative sound effects. At times, some of these were a little intrusive, breaking my concentration, but in general they made for an immersive audio experience.
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  • Mary Lins
    January 1, 1970
    Full disclosure: I’ve been working in aerospace for the past 29+ years as a NASA contractor. I am NOT an engineer nor a scientist, so I can’t vouch for the engineering or science referenced in “The Last Astronaut”, by David Wellington. I CAN vouch for the fact that the story was imaginative, interesting, thrilling, and well-paced. It’s clearly intended to be made into a film, but I wish it had been more like “Arrival” and less like “Alien”. (One correction I would suggest is that there ARE ways Full disclosure: I’ve been working in aerospace for the past 29+ years as a NASA contractor. I am NOT an engineer nor a scientist, so I can’t vouch for the engineering or science referenced in “The Last Astronaut”, by David Wellington. I CAN vouch for the fact that the story was imaginative, interesting, thrilling, and well-paced. It’s clearly intended to be made into a film, but I wish it had been more like “Arrival” and less like “Alien”. (One correction I would suggest is that there ARE ways that an astronaut can scratch a facial itch in an EVA suit. Google it.)It’s 2055. Wellington built nicely on current events to extrapolate well into the future. The Space Force is up and running, though NASA is no longer sending humans into space. Unfortunately, in 2055 NASA is still fighting for its budget with each new administration, and I was somewhat sad to read that he relocated NASA’s Johnson Space Center out of Houston due to a flood…but it would be hard to argue the impossibility of that due to Hurricane Harvey. He also built on the 2017 sighting of Oumuamua, a “real life” interstellar object that passed through our solar system and is still something of a mystery. Wellington capitalizes on this real mysterious object, to provide his plot with an Alien Space Craft story.In 2034, Sally Jansen, Mission Commander of Orion 6, was supposed to be the first woman in Mars. The flight failed spectacularly and Jansen was blamed and shamed, and NASA ended the astronaut program. Twenty-one years later, NASA needs Jansen to pilot Orion 7 and investigate the alien spacecraft. The beauty of exploring an Alien craft is that Wellington could let his imagination go wild – and he did! If you put your characters on Mars or the Lunar surface, we pretty much know what those look like. But if you are going somewhere no one has been or seen – there are no limits to what you can create. So this novel was “born” for CGI.I also highly recommend “The Sparrow” by Mary Doria Russell, which is also a “first contact” story, with a very different but captivating plot.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    ARC/Science Fiction: This book has not come out so I will try to review this without spoilers and just tell you how I felt about it. It is a pretty good book and I couldn’t wait to find out how it was going to end. To me there are really two scenarios that can happen. Either Earth bands together to fight evil aliens or the aliens are friendly and show Earth how to live cohesively and give out technology. I read John Stanford’s Saturn Run and I really thought this book was going to be a regurgita ARC/Science Fiction: This book has not come out so I will try to review this without spoilers and just tell you how I felt about it. It is a pretty good book and I couldn’t wait to find out how it was going to end. To me there are really two scenarios that can happen. Either Earth bands together to fight evil aliens or the aliens are friendly and show Earth how to live cohesively and give out technology. I read John Stanford’s Saturn Run and I really thought this book was going to be a regurgitation of that plot. The first couple of chapters were. The white privileged scientist cons his way on a mission to meet the object. NASA is not the only ones questing to the object; China and a private company have noticed the same anomaly and have blasted off too. I liked the set-up. You meet the main characters as they are gathered up by the government. The main characters are all introduced: the washed up commander, Sally, that is the only one knows how to fly an obsolete ship, security specialist (our antagonist), biologist, and mission control. What I liked: Everyone is expendable. It is space after all. The theory that aliens would not be humanoid is addressed. I liked the pseudo-science. The book takes place in the future, but most of the technology is advanced, but not super advanced. The like that the private company, KSpace, has its own agenda and does not do things “the NASA way”. I like that the Commander Jansen’s name is Sally; a homage to Sally Ride? What I didn’t like: There was some filler that I didn’t like. There were lapses where I was ready for the story to move on. There’s suspense & anticipation and then there is drag of filler. I was ready for the next memory stick to play. I didn’t like that Commander Jansen was so wishy-washy on her choices of save the person or save the world. I got this book from NetGalley and Amazon in lieu of an honest review.
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  • Alexander Tas
    January 1, 1970
    Read the full review at the Quill to Live: https://thequilltolive.com/2019/07/16... I would not say that The Last Astronaut by David Wellington is a bad book. It just didn’t quite hit the marks that it set out to hit. The story itself was okay on its own; it did not feel entirely new to me, but it was not stale either. The possibility of extraterrestrial life visiting our solar system can be a fun way to uncover aspects of humanity left unexplored in other genres. The secrecy around the discove Read the full review at the Quill to Live: https://thequilltolive.com/2019/07/16... I would not say that The Last Astronaut by David Wellington is a bad book. It just didn’t quite hit the marks that it set out to hit. The story itself was okay on its own; it did not feel entirely new to me, but it was not stale either. The possibility of extraterrestrial life visiting our solar system can be a fun way to uncover aspects of humanity left unexplored in other genres. The secrecy around the discovery in The Last Astronaut made the race to answer the question of ‘who are they and what are they doing here’ more personal than most first contact stories I have read. The general structure of the book’s beginning felt like I was going to dive into some characters who carried demons. I expected that this unknown entity was going to exploit this baggage, shining a light on the characters’ faults as they plunged deeper into the darkness of space. My eyes were open for whatever curveballs the author was ready to throw at me. Unfortunately, Wellington’s strange choice to frame the narrative as a documentary paired with his unremarkable writing softened the emotional punch foreshadowed for the characters. The Last Astronaut takes place fifty years in the future after a failed manned mission to Mars. The captain, Sally Jansen, had to make a life or death decision and sacrificed a crew member for the rest of the group. Afterwards, NASA was defunded to near non-existence. Fifteen years later, an object is spotted slowing down as it enters the solar system, and with very few people who know about it, and even fewer astronauts remaining, Jansen is called in to lead a crew of inexperienced people to a presumed alien ship. Their mission is to make contact and find out what they might be doing here, and whether or not they could be considered a threat.
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