“The Gilgamesh Path” by Michael Drakich

This novel should have been a fun, action-filled Space Opera. It has all the elements and is well written. However, instead it also tries to be Epic Science Fiction, where it is less successful.

The unfortunate element of a story where diplomacy is the main conflict is the complexity of the situation, which requires constant explaining of what’s going on, especially in the opening.

We see this story from both sides of the conflict in alternating chapters. While it is interesting to see the differences between the human and alien interpretation of the same facts, it does need twice as much explaining.

 The problem is also a matter of scale. Reading Science Fiction involves more or less suspension of disbelief, depending on how much you think such events might occur. Basing the plotline on the fact that humanity might exist for a million years without changing goes beyond this reader’s personal limits. A galaxy-wide tale spanning a million years lacks any immediacy. The numbers are simply too huge to comprehend on a human level.

Fortunately, once the eternal exposition is over and the action narrows down to the relationship between the two main characters, things pick up. There is plenty of interpersonal conflict, often involving well-described personal duels.  The diplomatic battle between the two ambassadors develops into  sexual tension as the story progresses.

Like all love stories, the ending is a foregone conclusion. It’s not what happens that interests us. The fun part is how the author  manages to make it happen and still keep our suspension of disbelief going.

A minor snag comes from the voices of the two different POV characters,  The protagonists sound too much the same, (often because it’s actually the author speaking through them) so it’s hard to keep straight who knows what.

Condense the first fifty pages down to one tight opening chapter, remove every “million years” and put “thousand years” instead, and this would be a nice, light Space Opera and a fun read.

4 stars.

About the Author: Gordon Long

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