The Palomar Paradox: A SETI Mystery
Lulu Publishing (2011)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (5/11)
Following on the heels of “The Oortian Summer” and “The Omega Point,” once again we step back into the life of Luper Beauchamps. The year is now 2028 and thirty-five-year old Luper has become the Assistant Director of the Palomar Observatory. He is currently involved with the SETI project (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence). Assisting him with monitoring signals through the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC) are Leila Keiler and Linus Shannon. Leila is a nineteen-year-old young lady who is recovering from leukemia. While she was going through her treatments, she acted as a volunteer to monitor signals that might be extra-terrestrial in origin. Her intelligence and enthusiasm earn her the opportunity to go to work for Luper. Linus Shannon is a middle-aged man who is a faculty member in the Information Technology Department at the prestigious UC Berkeley.
When Luper, Linus, and Leila discover an unusual signal that appears to be originating from outer space, they get very excited. They also realize that there are other individuals attempting to discredit this information. This realization dampers their excitement over the potential ramifications of their discovery, however, it also peaks their interest and they become more determined to investigate if the signal is real and they seek to find out why efforts are being made for a cover up.
Once again, Richard Rydon has created a novel that displays his enthusiasm for science and allows him to share a fictional story in which he can both entertain and educate the reader. Interspersed in between his mystery, he also includes scientific information and data that relates to the scientific search for extra-terrestrial life in our universe. For people who really enjoy science, they will find this information a plus. For others who just want a good science fiction type mystery, they can skip this part and just read the story. For myself, I found that my interest was even further stimulated by this additional information. I also really enjoyed the part of the story that took place near that Salton Sea at the Wister Mud Pots. This location is actually near where I live; I having been there and seen this unusual phenomena, and I really enjoyed that Rydon incorporated the area into his story.
While I enjoyed “The Palomar Paradox,” and being able to step back in Luper’s adventures, I felt that the story would be even better if tighter editing was done to correct some of the grammatical errors and the abrupt ending kind of threw me off. Otherwise, I found it to be a really good read, and I truly hope that Rydon will share more of Luper’s adventures with us in the future.