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The Song of the Swan


Universal Publishers (ebook); ISBN: 1-58112-868-1
After a lyric description of a supernova and interesting glimpse of an alien space ship, The Song of the Swan fell flat in several respects. Despite the minute description D'Alembert lavishes on each and every one, the characters aren't much more than talking heads. They never come alive. The book tells rather than shows, and errors of punctuation and syntax abound.  

But beyond the book's obvious faults, one glimpses the bones of an interesting premise. A coded message arrives from outer space and is recorded among the data retrieved from the supernova. Five years after the initial recording, a scientist working on another project discovers the recording contains pseudo primes (not really prime numbers), which shouldn't be there. Recognizing the pseudo primes as the key to an alien code, scientists work to translate the message. 

Since Song of the Swan takes its name from the "swan song" or final communiqué of the alien vessel destroyed in the supernova, one might expect the book to address "facing the music" on a number of levels. D'Alembert's novel does raise some interesting questions about ethics and conscience in the scientific community, but at the end most of the questions remain unanswered. 

Since my college education concentrated on the humanities, such as reading and writing, rather than science and higher mathematics, perhaps I lack the background to understand the concepts underlying the plot. If that is the case, then I apologize to the author 

But for what my opinion is worth, I found the dialogue stilted and pedantic, the characters one-dimensional, the transitions between scenes almost nil, and the plot exceedingly difficult to follow. 

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Patricia White

Patricia White is the Sapphire Award-winning author of A Wizard Scorned. Her current book, the western The Legend of Lejube Rogue, is available from New Concepts Publishing.