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Second Contact [Mass Market Paperback]

Mike Resnick


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Book Description

Nov. 15 1990
Becker investigates the killing of two crew members whose bodies have been suspiciously jettisoned into space without an autopsy. Had they really been aliens? As he hunts the evidence he realises that, far from being the hunter, he has become the hunted.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (Nov. 15 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812511131
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812511130
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 9.9 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In the year 2065, Max Becker, lawyer and major in the U.S. Army, is ordered to defend Commander Wilbur Jennings, captain of the spaceship Roosevelt , against the charge of having murdered two of his crewmen. Jennings freely confesses that he killed two people, but says they were alien impersonators. He refuses to let Becker enter a plea of insanity, claiming that he is the innocent victim of a conspiracy. With the help of his computer-hacker friend Jaimiesp ok Nchobe, Becker tries to gather evidence to convince Jennings that he is wrong. In the process, Becker discovers that he himself is marked for extermination. Resnick (Santiago) weaves a tight and well paced SF murder mystery with a pleasingly logical, yet unexpected resolution.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Resnick skillfully weaves a story of intrigue and government coverup. Commander Jennings kills two of his starship crew members because he "feels" they are aliens. Lawyer Max Becker is assigned to what he feels is an open-and-shut case of temporary insanity. Then several attempts are made on Becker's life; witnesses disappear and the body count rises. While the characterization is superficial, readers will be pulled into this thought-provoking science-fiction thriller. --John Lawson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Second Contact: A Sci-Fi Mystery -- X-Files meets JAG April 3 2000
By Joe White - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Second Contact by Mike Resnick is a wonderfully constructed futuristic mystery novel. The book focuses on a military lawyer who has to defend a starship commander. The commander is brought up on murder charges because he killed a fellow officer. The commander did this because he felt that the other officer was an alien. Well, things aren't what they seem. The lawyer starts investigating the case and, right away, he realizes that someone -- or something -- doesn't want the truth to be found. I won't tell you the ending but it is clever and quite shocking -- but intelligent.
While this novel may appear like the TV series the X-Files at first glance (it actually preceded that series by a few years), Resnick adds his unique sense of wry humor to the novel. This is refreshing because it seems that many authors take sci-fi too seriously or not seriously enough. Resnick has found the perfect balance.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Resnik's best Sept. 11 2010
By TChris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A starship captain kills two crew members because he is convinced on the basis of scant evidence that they are aliens (a rather drastic response that isn't terribly credible). The lawyer assigned to defend him advises a plea of temporary insanity but the captain insists that his assessment was correct. Convinced that the captain is whacko, the lawyer nonetheless begins an investigation that is obstructed at every turn. With the assistance of a young and beautiful civilian computer hacker, the lawyer begins to uncover what appears to be a conspiracy.

As Ludlum-lite in a science fiction setting, the plot works (barely), but the story leads to a conclusion that is forced and implausible. The lawyer is finally told what's going on (but only after attempts are made on his life), leading me to wonder why he wasn't just given that information in the beginning. "Well, we haven't been able to kill him, so let's just let him in on the secret." Apparently the government is even more inept in the future than it is now.

As he proved with Santiago, Resnick is a very capable writer; sad to say, Second Contact is far from his best work. The writing is pedestrian, the characters are wooden, and by the end the story just doesn't hold together. I think 2 1/2 stars would be about right.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Engaging Sci Fi Mystery - but dated Oct. 26 2002
By Kristen A. Templet - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Second Contact is a hard to put down Sci Fi mystery. Military lawyer Maj Max Becker doesn't believe his client is sane when he claims that the two crewmembers he killed were aliens, but he will argue the defense that his client wants. Suddenly, though, witnesses begin to disappear, and Max begins to suspect that maybe something really is being covered up. With the help of a hard-nosed computer genius, Max is in a race to discover the truth before the two of them wind up dead.
I really enjoyed this book. I had trouble putting it down and was in a hurry to find out what really was going on. However the computer science Second Contact is terribly dated. The novel seems to have been published in 1990 before the internet took off. A major portion of the plot is uncovered by breaking into computer systems, but there is no mention of the internet. All access is achieved modems and the phone system. At one point they use the Library of Congress, "the biggest English language database in the world", whereas now the same research would have been done on the web. Although the novel is set in 2065, none of the computer technology used is beyond what exsisted in the late 80s except for some voice recognition. It doesn't take the enjoyment out of the read, but it makes it seem like a classic novel from the 50s and 60s where you ignore the flawed science.
Overall Second Contact is a very enjoyable, hard-to-put-down read, and I highly recommend it.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fun and Fast Read Dec 1 2007
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've always enjoyed Resnick's books and this was no exception. While I don't think it's in the catagory of some of his other titles like Paradise or A Miracle of Rare Design, it was a fun book all the same. The story is very enveloping and the writing is, as always, well done.
It's more of a mystery novel and I found myself staying up to find out what was going to happen next. I thoroughly enjoyed this book from cover to cover. Even the rather dated science of computer technology added an element to the story I really liked.
Not the top notch story Paradise was, but definitely a fun and fast book.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Military Mystery Oct. 29 2007
By Michel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Almost no science fiction there. A detective story written in Resnick's fluid style which keeps you engrossed until the end. An agreeable read.

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