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Title: Buttons

Genre/Sub-Genre: Science Fiction/Generation Ship

Story Link: Click Here!

Status: Complete

Written ByPenPuppy 


Goal: Save humanity, no biggie.

Olivia, a precocious fourteen year old girl, narrates the trials of humanity as it leaves the solar system, fleeing an Earth decimated by the Nuclear Apocalypse.

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Yet another rare breed of sci-fi stories here on Wattpad, though I can't help wondering if it might have something to do with the lack of appropriate tagging. After all, who really knew what Generation Ship stories were, until this Generation Ship issue of Tevun-Krus enlightened us?

Key in #generationship in Search and you get precisely two stories, "Buttons" by PenPuppy and "Limbo" by Tevun-Krus favourite, krazydiamond. Surely there must be more? I went hunting.

I checked out ScienceFiction's Wattpad Sci-Fi Competitions and discovered the Constellation Project challenge. Aha! I thought. There were around 160 stories submitted for this contest, (including the two stories I'd just found.) At first, I restricted myself to the judges' top ten. I admit freely, I only had time for a quick browse; however—excellent stories as they were—most appeared to focus on the situation on Earth, requiring urgent departure, rather than the actual voyage and the ship.

Although "Limbo" is definitely a Generation Ship story (and an excellent one it is, too), I decided to branch out for my review, and read the one by PenPuppy, someone I had never heard of until this moment.

It was a really fun read! If you're wondering about the title, I'm sure everyone has read about the Big Red Button, the one that says "Don't Press Me?" Well, somebody pressed it and ended the world as we know it.

Built out of recyclable materials, powered by nuclear energy, and loaded with algae grown oils and bio-fuels, 40 generational ships leave Earth, searching for a new home for what remains of humanity. Their journey is narrated by Olive, "I'm small and tart and can take some getting used to." Olive is a precocious 14 year old, a maths genius and an almost perfect pilot. She is assistant head pilot on the lead ship, along with the fleet's President and the President's partner—the head pilot—whom Olive detests. The story is enlivened by battles of will and scientific theory between Olive and her nemesis. No prizes for guessing who comes out on top.

Once the fleet discovers that nowhere else in the Solar system is habitable, not even Pluto, where will they go? Alpha Centauri or the dwarf star system TRAPPIST-1? And later, the Big Red Button makes a second appearance, but I can't tell you any more details without spoiling the plot.

One weakness in the story, is that the author never explains how the ships plan to traverse the light years to their destination. Does the crew go into cryogenic sleep or have they developed an FTL (faster-than-light) drive? It wasn't clear to me.

However, despite this drawback, I can thoroughly recommend this story. The style is chatty and humorous, with enough science in it to appeal to the more serious amongst us.

Reviewed By: Anon

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