Name: The Mars Migration
Author: Wayne M. Bailey
Genre: Science Fiction
The Mars Migration is the debut sci-fi novel from Wayne M. Bailey. When two mysterious spheres fall to Earth and freeze two towns, Amber and Daniel are pulled on an epic adventure.
The book was selected for a brand new book club that I have joined run by my local indie bookshop, Blue Sheep Books in Wednesbury. I was excited to read it as I do enjoy sci-fi shows such as Doctor Who but haven’t really read many science fiction novels, also Wayne M. Bailey is a local author from Walsall.
The story begins with two mysterious spheres that are sent crashing to Earth in two different places. The first lands in Willenhall in the West Midlands in the UK at 1am local time. The second lands in Selkirk near Winnipeg in Canada at 6pm local time.
Daniel and his family in the UK are awoken by a storm and see the sphere landing in his school playing field close by. Just after, he feels a weird force field hit him then sees a weird projection that looks like himself and vanishes almost instantly. He goes outside to investigate the sphere but discovers his entire family have been frozen, as well as all the electrics and clocks in the house. The weather also changes to become unseasonably warm and he is the only one unaffected by the freeze.
Meanwhile in Selkirk, Amber is a waitress on her way to work when suddenly a lightning storm breaks out and the second sphere lands in the town. Amber experiences the exact same events Daniel does in the UK. As both Amber and Daniel reach the spheres and touch them they are dragged out of everything they know into an epic adventure in the far distant future.
Meanwhile on Earth, panic in Canada and the UK takes hold as both governments realise there is a 20 mile bubble around Selkirk and Willenhall with no access in and out. In Willenhall, local policeman Mick is sent to investigate the goings, whilst in Selkirk we find out the story of a family separated with a mother inside the bubble and the rest of the family outside.
Will time be unfrozen and what interplanetary war does Amber and Daniel find themselves in and how does this connect to the spheres?
I found this novel to be a very imaginative and inventive science fiction novel which tips a hat to a lot of the tropes of the genre but uses them in inventive ways to create something that is quite unique.
The story packs in a lot and I could see influences from various science fiction stories – there is the time-bending of shows like Doctor Who, protecting the timelines to make sure things happen as they are supposed to in a similar way to the first two Terminator movies, interplanetary wars, even the bubbles themselves reminded me of Under The Dome by Stephen King. It is definitely an epic science-fiction adventure! However the novel handles all these events really well and tells a very rounded story.
The two main protagonists are Daniel and Amber who are both very funny, cool characters. Obviously being from the West Midlands myself I did like Daniel’s character the most and it was fun to read a science fiction story set in my hometown and talking about places I recognise when most of the genre uses major cities such as London, Los Angeles, New York etc.
Amber however is a very caring young woman and I really like the plot about how she wants to get back home to look after her disabled mum which gives her a very mature, likeable character arc.
The world-building in the parts set in the future is also excellent and I also like how the book blends science as we know it and factual information we have on Mars which makes the world seem more grounded and believable. However the world-building is done in a way which keeps the tension high and makes you want to keep reading which can be difficult for sci-fi and fantasy authors to pull off.
I would say towards the end of the story the pacing does slow a little bit and I was expecting another twist in the tale which doesn’t really happen, although there are some hints at a potential sequel. I personally feel the last 4-5 chapters could have been done in a shorter epilogue chapter and maybe a more obvious cliff hanger for a second story.
However I did still enjoy it and I would read a sequel if one is written and on the flipside its a story which is wrapped up neatly whilst leaving the door open for more.
I would recommend giving this book a try if you are a fan of sci-fi and fancy a different take on the genre.