Stranded, but not alone. You only wish you were.

Join in on the Buddy Read of Eden.
Dear Reader


Robinson and Crusoe, The Blue Lagoon, Castaway — I’d read the books and seen the movies. Never thought I’d have my own story to tell, and anyway, you’d think an astronaut would be prepared for such an eventuality, wouldn’t you? We’re trained over months, years, in fact. 


We’re picked especially for our strong mental state. But we’re human just like you. We have emotions just like you. We have fears just like you. The only difference is we learn to control them. 

There were just three of us. Bodie, Matt and myself, Jenny, and we were all on our way to the first manned mission outside the solar system. To a planet that was similar to Earth in size and makeup.

We flew in our respective spacepods, leaving  Taurus, the mother ship, in orbit around Eden, and took our first steps on the planet that had been untouched by humans. Our mission was to embed probes at various pre-marked sites, and collect samples such as rocks, plants, water, you know the mundane, astronauty things before heading back.

But, how can I explain? No training can prepare you for the momentous feelings we were feeling. A sky with two suns, a perpetual twilight with eight moons, a wondrous alien terrain. It was surreal.

On our way to insert the probes, we found an alien spaceship; deserves its own sentence really: We found an alien spaceship. It was easy to tell it had been there a long time because vegetation had started to grow over it and some of it was covered completely. There was an unspoken agreement between us when we abandoned our duties to explore it further.

That’s when it all went wrong. We’d let our human emotions take over. A fatal error.

I found a gap in the side of the spacecraft that was big enough for me to crawl through. Bodie was lacklustre in disallowing it, I think he wanted to find out what it was like inside just as much as me. I found bodies. Countless alien bodies. Most were decapitated. But one, one, was very much alive.

It was a bit of a blank after that. I was dragged back outside, and I remember my throat being constricted and lights dancing behind my eyes. Then I woke to Bodie and Matt not being there and I was on my own.

Alone on an unknown planet.

The alien and my so-called colleagues had gone. I guessed the alien had killed them and had travelled back to Taurus in one of the buggies. Taurus would have killed it instantly, so its attempt to flee ended then and there.

I was alone. Completely alone.

Read my full story in Eden. But before you go — can I just say please don’t judge me. 

You’d do the same.

 Jenny


THE MISSION 

Interplanetary exploration from 2236 Earth to the newly discovered planet, Eden. The animal life on Eden is on the brink of evolution and humankind wants a first-hand seat. 
THEN THINGS GO FROM BAD 
The space explorers are separated and Jenny, the only female of the group, is on her own.
TO WORSE
Fly, from the planet Itor, is the lone survivor of his crashed spacecraft. He’s been on Eden for years. He’s watching Jenny–and sees the others leave without her.
TO YOU’LL DO ANYTHING TO KEEP YOURSELF ALIVE 
Fly has food, shelter and weaponry against hostile animals. All that Jenny needs. It’s buried deep in the human psyche to do anything to keep yourself alive, but does that includes sleeping with the enemy?
THE CONCLUSION 
Don’t judge until you’ve read her story. You’d probably do the same.

Considering this book had only four characters, two of them mainly featured, WOW!!!!! I’ve read this book multiple times it’s so engaging. 

The planet Eden was vividly and atmospherically described, the characters were well developed and the plot, although simple, had me hooked. 

What an incredibly original and beautiful journey this was! Louise Wise has created a world that was vivid and engaging in so very many ways that I was captivated from the get go. Sci-fi is not my usual genre, but I really enjoyed Eden.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this book. It is both good sci-fi about survival on an alien world, and a good romance novel where the romance is with a scary and dangerous alien man.

I read through this book twice because I loved it so much! It’s an interesting look at prejudice and overcoming it. It’s also a great sci-fi love story!

one of the best i’ve read, absolutely awesome story. going to read it again. Amazon keeps asking for a review, but then wants to tell me how many words i should use to review it.

Read more at Goodreads and Amazon:

Eden – available on Kindle NOW!

Imagine being left stranded.
No way of getting home.
No telephone, no computer, no shelter.
No food.
Now imagine the place where you’re stranded is another planet. 
And then you realise you’re not alone after all…
Beauty and the Beast for grown ups
The fairy tale you never grow out of.
Buy from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

Excerpt

A distant howl of the native-wolves caused her to swivel around towards the noise. Her heart gathered speed, and the tiny hairs that covered her flesh became erect with fear. It took long a moment to realise she wasn’t alone any more. There was Fly. But what was that going to cost her?
She looked over.
He was leaning against the broken boulder; his eyes fixed steadily on her face. He held out his hand to her.
She stared, mortified.
You’re not going to survive on your own, Jennifer Daykin; you’ve become a pathetic excuse for a human.
With that truth she allowed herself to be pulled down next to him, and was held so close that she could hear the beat of his heart. She sat tense, aware and afraid. His arm was firm around her middle. His hand, the fingers bunched into a loose fist, rested lightly on her upper thigh. She could feel the hardness of his body against hers, and she held herself as rigid as she could. Heat poured off him, warming her and worrying her at the same time.
The light gave way to the dimness of night, and the howling became louder and more frequent. The fire had faded into bright embers, and hardly any warmth came from it. Jenny peered up at Fly, his eyes were closed but she had never been more awake in her life.
She glanced down at the hand that lay on her thigh. It was large; the nails soiled. She peered closer and noticed the tiny slits on the tip of each finger where the claws emerge and retract. He came from such an ugly and violent race; she was extremely lucky she was female and able to provide him with light entertainment otherwise, as he had already said, she’d be dead.
No! I won’t become entertainment for anyone. I’ll die first!
And you will, Jen, you will.
The knowledge was like a presentiment, and she mentally recoiled at the thought of clawed, soiled hands on her body, and of the emotionless eyes that would see her at her most vulnerable. She thought for a moment of his hard, lean body against hers and a shiver, different to her repulsed thoughts, swept her body.
She stared into the fire. After a few minutes gathering courage, she began to move away. The hand on her stomach abruptly splayed out and stopped all movement.
Jenny physically cringed.
She was a woman from the 23rd century, and had made mincemeat out of men as big as Fly, yet she was unable to defend herself or seemingly survive without him. She was a strong woman, so why was she reduced to being at the mercy of a man? An alien man?
She pushed his hand off her, and made space between them, but her voice let her down. ‘It isn’t going to happen, Fly. I won’t let you rape me.’
‘There will be no need for rape.’
Jenny closed her eyes, and struggled to regain normality – but there was nothing except a black-eyed alien, vicious animals and deadly flowers in her mind to remind her that nothing would be normal again.

Reviews

You can see the reviews already on Amazon, Barns and Noble etc, so I’ve put some here from the popular YWO review site.

The good reviews…

This is great! I thoroughly enjoyed it. At first I wondered why it had been categorised as romance, not sci-fi, but by the end of the uploaded chapters, this becomes obvious. An original story, well written. The pace was wonderfully fast with not a moment’s opportunity for the eyes to glaze over. 

The whole idea of the existence of earth-like planets is very topical at the moment, and the idea of landing on a habitable (and inhabited) one is extremely exciting in itself, let alone the horror of being abandoned there. Jenny’s feelings on being left “alone” on the planet were very evocative and felt authentic.

The planet itself is beautifully described and sufficiently weird to capture the imagination.

The pace is just right – I found myself desperate to find out what would happen next, moment by moment.

Eden is a tightly written story with a good structure that kept me entertained throughout. I liked the idea of the asteroid collision happening while the computer’s back was turned. Plus, the encounter with the alien was nicely horrifying, and I genuinely felt Jenny’s terror when her ship blasted off without her. I really want to know what happens next! But my favourite moment is when they realise they’ve left the transmitter by the evil plant. I was expecting one of them to go over there and get eaten, but it turns out they’ve got a load back in the ship so they just leave it there. It’s always good when a story doesn’t do the obvious thing.

I also liked the atmosphere of the story, which felt to me like a rom-com version of “Red Dwarf”. However, I felt the characters were much too obvious in their hatred of one another. Especially at the start, I think you can afford to be more subtle about their relationships – the action was enough to keep me interested.

I do like reading and watching this type of material but find I often get bored with too much technical detail. I found in this that wasn’t the case. Which to me is good. You said enough to make it clear, they were in a ship, floating around a planet and the only bit I did skim was the size of the planet part as that means nothing to me!!!! You I use language that isn’t high techy and you can therefore see the inside of the ship. I was very pleased about that.

The characters I found very believeable and all had a distinctive character and voice. Obviousy with Jenny in this chapters being the one we get to know the most. You could really see who she was. I like the contrast of the alien, who’s superior and not used to the full range of human emotions, realising he might have to take it a bit easy with Jenny. I like that he uses his knowledge of humans, be it with a superior air, to come to this decision.

Sometimes the descriptive bits of the planet I couldn’t see, ie the tightly curled trees. I didn’t quite get that image. I also couldn’t quite get the alien talking about who he hunted.

But all in all I found I want to know how things go with Jenny and the alien. If Matt and Bodie have gone and what else happens on the planet. It peaked my interest no end!

I’m not a fan of science fiction but I don’t think one has to like a genre to review it. Good writing and a feasible plot will pull you in regardless.
Quite liked the transition from the ‘safe’ and familiar human interactions in the first part to the radically different, alien experiences that followed. Apart from the actual setting, at the beginning everything feels quite earthly, the use of language in the dialogues helps. These are very human astronauts with their emotional baggage and human frailties. Then the encounter with the alien vessel is described such that it successfully conveys a feeling of unease combined with the thrill of discovery. It was quite interesting to see the main character reduced to something very primordial, in a complete contrast to how she started out. It , in a good sense, reminds me of Fredric Brown’s The Arena – at the level of a ‘hi-tech being’ ending up in avery organic and primeval battle for survival.

I felt this story affected me like a drug, you almost couldn’t stop reading, I got a good overall feeling of the world despite the many flaws of the piece. The writing is naive and underdeveloped and we are told far too much; everything is explained leaving little for the reader to infer. This story could really come alive with more subtlety, there were moments in the story that were brilliant but they got lost under the glut of explanation. There is something very alluring about this story, that drags you in, with some heavy redrafting I think it will really start to shine.

I must admit I didn’t think I’d enjoy this story and the first few pages I found rather derivative, the dialogue a bit flat. But when Taurus landed and the crew went out to explore Eden, it perked up no end. Jenny really came into her own when she was left to cope alone, although I think she brought it on her head by going into the alien spaceship when anyone in their right minds would stay put! I needed a bit more in the way of motivation there. The alien creature was very well described and the weird and wonderful plants were well thought out and very macabre. The whole planet seemed to be a viable world, well thought out and believable. I think cutting the first pages down quite substantially would improve the narrative – I just kept thinking Red Dwarf here, with the talking computer. Perhaps start it with the crew venturing out??
Anyway Louise, well done – you’ve converted me to sci-fi!

I sighed when i first read what the book was about as it is normally the type of book i avoid. But after a sceptical start and knowing it was right to proceed i found the writing very descriptive and it was easy to imagine the setting and the characters.

I presume that it is aimed at a later teens market. I think it would need a well designed, interesting and bold cover to make you want to pick the book of the shelf. I think it is a brave choice to write a book about an alien romance and personally i would normally shut off after reading those two words. However there are those out there who thrive on that sort of thing.


The story flows well and good descriptions seem to come up at the right points when you just begin to feel the story is no longer holding your attention.


I suprised myself at the end by wanting to find out what happens in an ‘alien story ‘. Although you want a happy ending, this story so far does not give the reader an idea of what that ending might be, good or bad, and that makes me want to read it. Good luck!

Louise I am not a fan of science fiction. I have never read a science fiction novel. Bottom line is, I am glad I read your chapters! I am sitting here right now thinking “maybe I should be giving science fiction a fair shake!’ I feel now that I may have been missing out on something…
You are an excellent writer.
I find your words flow very well. I like it when I can read a sentence and don’t have to reread it again to make sense of it.
You paint excellent pictures with your words. In my mind’s eye, I could see the planets surface, the vegetation, the creatures and the alien. You have a definite gift.

The bad…
I’m not sure what makes an author want to take a generic, predictable, human relationship and transplant it to an extraterrestrial setting. I like to think that different kinds of relationships might exist on other planets. That said, though, the planet you describe does seem to resemble earth, except for the number of suns and moons, which you don’t make much use of. And your story made me laugh out loud several times – though I’m not sure if that’s the effect you intended.

The basic writing is fine in terms of grammar, spelling etc. The characters do begin to be developed and there is a story that holds some interest. There is also some action and very occasionally some tension, although you miss multiple opportunities to develop that tension and interest. Without appropriate use of tension, the pace of the story just begins to ‘drag’ at times and the reader wonders how these juvenile characters have come to be selected for what purports to be one of mankind’s most ambitious and important ventures.

I realise that you have classified this as ‘Romance’ BUT even although you have not called it science fiction you have used a science fiction setting. The BIG problem relates to the reason that I virtually stopped reading purported ‘science fiction’ about 40 years ago. There’s nothing wrong with sci-fi – but this isn’t it. I’m not being rude when I say that – the whole ‘Star Wars’ saga isn’t science fiction either, so you’re in good company.

This is action/adventure story just happens to have a futuristic setting but you could perfectly well have written the same story as a ‘western’ with our intrepid travellers going into unexplored territory, encountering new environments and hostile ‘Indians’ and Jenny being abandoned in the Utah desert. In fact, you would have been better advised to do that.

The reason that many writers chose to use a futuristic ‘alien’ setting (and I suspect the reason that you have used it) is that they believe that such a setting gives them the ultimate freedom to allow virtually anything to happen. But it doesn’t – everything we know indicates that there are ‘rules’ that apply to what happens throughout the universe – certainly in those parts that we humans might potentially physically venture into. A ‘western’ setting (or a ‘jungle’ setting, or a ‘desert island’ setting, or any number of others) could have been accommodated because you know (or could easily find out) what ‘rules’ might apply to such a setting. As the story stands at the moment you leave yourself vulnerable to nerds like me.

I found your explanation at the start off-putting. Without reading the chapters, and only your intro, I had assumed that the romance was with an alien, especially from the first line. To have to explain it undermines and belittles the reader in my view. My impression of the first chapter was that it was a rather unconvincing and somewhat juvenile space mission. It read a lot like teen lit. The theme was continued into the second chapter and the lengthy descriptions of the woman being chased by the wolf and then following the alien need to be cut down tremendously.

Please take the time to correct small grammatical faults such as ‘low intelligent small mammals’ should be ‘small mammals of low intelligence’ (although even in SF it is difficult how intelligence will be measured at a distance – maybe simple would be a better word). Also, do consider rewording some phrases such as ‘wondered if the quality of her life would be worth the struggle to survive’ with ‘wondered whether life would be worth living’ or even ‘wondered whether she would survive to see another interplanetary sunrise’.


In summary, I suggest simplifying and shortening the opening chapters, and I also would rethink the audience for this novel as it seems to me to fit well into a teen or YA profile.


At the beginning of the story the ship has just been struck by an asteroid. This seems to provide the perfect opportunity for some opening drama with which to grab the reader’s attention. But you’ve rather wasted it by focusing your opening on something as mundane as Bodie accidentally elbowing Jenny in the stomach.

And not sure…

I thought this was a very interesting idea, but can understand why some readers haven’t got to the romance, because the setting as you paint it would fit a sexual sexcapade between the girl and the alien, but romance, no, or not as yet. Outer space, you have the excitement but as yet there are too many machines and contraptions and realistic language, too realistic, what about the stars out there, the romance of the unknown, you need to take our principal character’s private side and tell us more about it. i find your central precept quite fascinating and wished you focussed there inside of on getting us to believe that you are really in outer space out there. in other words, the woman is spaced out without being spaced out, if you know what i mean. thanks and hope i haven’t dampened your spirits, but i think you could do more with this idea. in eden the garden was important, and you need to make space your garden

I must admit that I’m not a fan of sci-fi but this story held my attention, probably because it’s led by character and action and not dependent upon gizmos and gadgets and techno-speak. Whatever the genre you’ve got to have strong characters and a decent plot and I think this achieves that.

However, these sample chapters seem to show that the novel is unsure of its tone and direction. It starts off as a fairly light sort of sci-fi “road movie” with the focus seeming to be the interactions between Jenny, Matt and Commander Bodie as they boldly go to explore new worlds. There was good dialogue and tension between the 3 and the sexy computer, Kate, reminded me of “Red Dwarf”. Then, on the surface of the planet, with the screaming trees and homicidal plants, it had become more like a slightly dark “Hitch Hikers Guide”. The humour continued even after the discovery of the crashed spaceship but then, suddenly, Jenny is captured by the alien and it quickly turns very very dark and very, very bleak. Jenni is reduced to running through the forest to escape the “wolf”, only to be “rescued” by the alien. As she realises it’s out of the frying pan and into the fire she is reduced to surviving on her base instincts and contemplating giving her body to the alien in return for her safety.

Now, I like the early section. It needs work – Bodie and Matt need more development and colour; I’m not sure about the technicalities of the life forms on such a cold planet, but one with a very earth-like atmosphere, but I’m no expert and it’s your story- you can have as many homicidal daffodils as you want! If it is to have elements of comedy, then this needs work – there have got to be snappier, better ways of having Bodie liken himself jokingly to E.T. than “the remake never did live up to its predecessor” and ” ‘Well done, Commander’ she said with sarcasm” doesn’t really work – you need to have her say something which leaves no doubt that she is being sarcastic without you telling us overtly. “Thank you, Sherlock!” or something like that???