Author: Edward Willet
Book: Right to Know
Published: September 2013
Publisher: Bundoran Press Publishing
Genre: Science Fiction
Arthur “Art” Stoddard is the civilian information officer on the generation ship Mayflower II. The captain and crew rule with an iron fist, judging what information is too dangerous for public consumption. When he meets with a contact, he is kidnapped by a secret rebel organization that wants to over throw the power of Captain and crew. They want him to release dangerous knowledge to the passengers. They are approaching a habitable planet. This is information gets him arrested by the ship’s security and brought before the captain. Kidnapped again by the planet’s own intelligence service, he learns they are human. In a stunning “déjà vu all over again,” rebels against the planet’s repressive government kidnap him.
With weapons pointed at the ship and planet, Art must figure out how to save both. The only tool he has is knowledge. Knowledge that can cause the death of millions or save them.
This is a novel from a Canadian science fiction publisher. It is a well-written story dealing with a first contact with a twist. A ship launched before Earth had developed faster than light travel arrives at a world that was colonized as part of a vast Earth empire. The planet was cut off when the secret to faster than light travel was lost. Edward Willet makes use of an author’s greatest tool: “What if…” Art Stoddard starts off as an irresponsible celebrity. He embarks on a wild adventure where he must find a way to save two civilizations. There are two corrupt governments with devastating weapons pointed at each other, religious fanatics, and rebels that want to restore people’s right to know, ultimately for both sides. The story is well written though the romantic elements could have been better developed.