Outer space goes with just about anything. As a science fiction fan, one thing that’s guaranteed to make me sit up and take notice is when authors or filmmakers reinvent an idea or story by setting it in space. So when I learned about Veronica Scott’s Wreck of the Nebula Dream, my “space” radar went on high alert.
This book is a futuristic romance version of the Titanic disaster. I mean, wow! Talk about high concept. Here’s the blurb:
Traveling unexpectedly aboard the luxury liner Nebula Dream on its maiden voyage across the galaxy, Sectors Special Forces Captain Nick Jameson is ready for ten relaxing days, and hoping to forget his last disastrous mission behind enemy lines. He figures he’ll gamble at the casino, take in the shows, maybe even have a shipboard fling with Mara Lyrae, the beautiful but reserved businesswoman he meets.
All his plans vaporize when the ship suffers a wreck of Titanic proportions. Captain and crew abandon ship, leaving the 8000 passengers stranded without enough lifeboats and drifting unarmed in enemy territory. Aided by Mara, Nick must find a way off the doomed ship for himself and several other innocent people before deadly enemy forces reach them or the ship’s malfunctioning engines finish ticking down to self destruction.
But can Nick conquer the demons from his past that tell him he’ll fail these innocent people just as he failed to save his Special Forces team? Will he outpace his own doubts to win this vital race against time?
I was immediately intrigued by the idea of a re-imagining of the Titanic disaster in space. A ship sinking in the middle of the ocean is bad enough, but that danger would be multiplied a hundred times if a similar disaster were to occur in the vacuum of deep space. For me, the change of setting really heightens the stakes.
Another aspect that interested me was the idea of pairing that premise with a romance—specifically, a romance that ended in a Happily Ever After. I’m all for the bittersweet endings of Titanic stories such James Cameron’s Titanic, but I’m also enamored of more hopeful resolutions.
But upon hearing about Wreck of the Nebula Dream for the first time, I couldn’t help but wonder if the story would deliver. After all, there’s a danger of simply transplanting a story into an outer space setting. Would the cosmic setting be nothing more than backdrop? Is it possible to tell a Titanic-in-space story with the same type of depth as the more traditional historical interpretations?
Still, any trepidation I had paled in comparison to my interest. After all, Wreck of the Nebula Dream is the Titanic—in space!
While reading the story, I definitely got the sense that Veronica Scott is a Titanic aficionado. I could tell how she used certain elements from the real disaster to set the foundation for her own story. There are quite a few Titanic Easter eggs for readers to discover. But despite the obvious roots, Wreck of the Nebula Dream follows its own path. Here are a few non-spoiler tags that I gleamed while reading the story:
* Hero Nick is a “good guy” type of hero—“leader” is his middle name
* Heroine Mara is an ordinary, yet smart business woman who shows great courage under pressure
* The story features a subtle, slow-burn romance (in fact, this story edges more towards romantic SF since the disaster is central to the story)
* There’s a true partnership between the hero and heroine during a climactic scene
* The heat level is “sweet”
* The story has a sidekick character in the vein of Shepherd Book from Firefly
* Some of the SF elements are fantastical in nature (this is a plus unless you prefer hard SF)
* The POV is entirely from the hero’s perspective
* In terms of the action-adventure quotient, I’d say Wreck of the Nebula Dream is in the medium range. The action focuses mostly on surviving and escaping.
If you’re feeling Titanic fever because of today’s 100th anniversary of the sinking on April 15, 2012, then Wreck of the Nebula Dream might be for you. It’s a twist on the usual fare but also delivers familiar elements.
Veronica Scott self-published this ebook, and you can try it without putting too much of a dent in your wallet: Wreck of the Nebula Dream is only 99 cents at retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Now, before I sign off, say it again with me one more time: Titanic…in spaaaaaace!
Heather Massey is a lifelong fan of science fiction romance. She searches for sci-fi romance adventures aboard her blog, The Galaxy Express.
She’s also an author: Her latest release is The Watchmaker’s Lady (Clockpunk Trilogy #1) from Red Sage Publishing. To learn more about her published work, visit www.heathermassey.com.