The Cronian Incident
Professor Abraham Loeb – Advance Review:
“An exciting science fiction adventure into the technological future. An exhilarating read for scientists and fiction lovers alike.”
The Cronian Incident (The Formist Series) (Volume 1) by Matthew Williams is a slow-paced, contemplative science fiction story that fans of The Expanse will really enjoy. When a high-ranking member of a Formist family disappears, Jeremiah Ward, a former detective serving a hard labor sentence on Mercury is called to act as private detective. In exchange for Ward’s services, his sentence will be commuted, but it may be more than he bargained for.
Out of the gate, Ward has his own self-imposed obstacles to overcome. He’s guilt-ridden over the events that landed him in prison, and seems to accept his fate as if he were on death row. When Ward is given his “golden ticket” of a task as a private detective, it seems like the best of all worlds. Of course, nothing is ever so easy as all that, and Ward finds himself going deep down the rabbit hole of conspiracy and danger.
Williams injects a realism into this splendid science fiction story that is reminiscent of some of the best in the genre. The Cronian Incident offers a unique view of the future-imperfect through the eyes of the flawed by likable character Jeremiah Ward. Fans of the genre will definitely want to pick up the slow-boil science fiction mystery and tuck in for a good read.
I received an eARC copy from the publisher prior to publication, but it took a while to get through the novel Now that I’ve finished it, I have to say I found it quite compelling. It’s almost like you’re getting three stories in one: the story of how man has advanced in our universe through colonization and technology; the story of the disappearance of Doctor Lee; and the story of how the protagonist, Jeremiah Ward, is trying to find his freedom and rediscover himself in the process. All of them are told at once and are told splendidly by the author, who takes his time building the world of the story to be immersive, as well as the characters to be relatable. He also takes time to make sure the world of the story is easy to understand, especially for those who don’t usually read hard science fiction, and subverts a lot of tropes for these sort of stories. Twice I thought I could tell where the story was going to go, and about four or five times I found myself surprised or wrong.
The only problems I really had was that, even though the author explains the tech and stuff, a lot of the hard science stuff can be a little hard to understand at first. That, and there were some grammar/punctuation/spelling errors here and there, but other than that I had no issues.
On a scale of 1 to 5, I give The Cronian Incident a 4.7 out of 5 (which on Amazon is basically a 5). Pick it up, and be transported.
This was one of the best science fiction novels I’ve read in some time. Its universe is vast in scope, its plot full of intrigue, its characters delightfully well rounded with just the right mix of flaws and strengths.
Nightmares and dreams vie for supremacy as Jeremiah Ward is subjected to sensory deprivation in a futuristic solitary confinement. The prisons-as-profit-centers of today have given way to convict labor laws where employers contract for what are essentially slaves to be used as they see fit. Ward is a disgraced Interpol agent who was very good at his job but made a huge mistake that cost many lives, but he gets a second chance. An important member of one of the most powerful families has gone missing, and he’s tasked to find out what happened.
Ward’s journey of discovery has twists and turns that surprise the reader but none that make us feel we’ve been cheated. Anything resembling deus ex machina is tightly woven into the plot and makes complete sense in the scope of the novel. The science is advanced yet sound and consistent.
The Cronian Incident is easy to read, although it demands close attention, and I anxiously await a followup.
I haven’t read science fiction for years, so I had a pretty fresh approach to reading The Cronian Incident. First of all, I’d never thought about the fact that science fiction writers, especially in a first book in a series, can’t just tell a story; they have to, at the same time, create the world in which the characters move. I’d say that Matthew Williams did an excellent job with this. I now have a good understanding of how the world works in this series. I’d describe the novel as a futuristic sci-fi detective novel with some elements of the Wild West thrown in. Ward, the main character, begins as a convict, formerly an Interpol agent. I won’t go into detail on the plot, but I found it interesting, and this was a fast read once I figured out the basics of the world in which it’s set. I’ll leave it to the reader to discover how Williams worked possible future advancements into the novel. Suffice it to say that I was intrigued.
Not bad, for the genre. One of the major detractors is the language used. I know, I know, these are rough and tumble killers talking. But just because they spew garbage, do I really have to read it?
I thoroughly enjoyed this story .. it used an unbelievable set of worlds but made them believable and easy to read . will await his sequel
Mr. Williams delivers an exciting tale in this story. It was a very enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to seeing more from him.