Review of 'The Rosetta Man'

The Rosetta Man by Claire McCague

the_rosetta_man.jpg When two aliens arrive on Earth but appear to be unable to communicate professor Harry Hatarei calls on his friend Estlin (“Lyndie”) Hume who has a rather unusual talent: He can communicate, in a way, with animals. The problem is, he doesn't really know how though his house is overrun with squirrels who really seem to like him. Arriving in Wellington, New Zealand, Lyndie quickly finds the spiky, ape-like aliens take a liking to him, overwhelming him with their thoughts. This all does not go unnoticed with a solar pulse dramatically heralding the alien's arrival, many governments send their representatives to have a look and offer their “assistance” as well. As events take to the high seas and beyond, despite all of the resources expended it seems no one still understands why the alien's are here and what it is they want…

Despite the humorous tagline on the cover of the book: “Wanted: Translator for first contact. Immediate opening. Danger pay allowance…” there is not really a lot of humour on display here other than the unwanted attention of various animals to Lyndie, definitely a fish out of water. I am not sure I am missing something but if there is any more hilarity it, frankly, went straight over my head leaving me reading a rather long and uneventful book that ultimately left me unsatisfied. There are a number of characters that I had a bit of trouble keeping track of, particularly the various military types that make an appearance and, frankly, they are not really that interesting, present only to play a particular (obvious) role in the story.

There is some scientific gobbledygook here that, frankly, also went over my head as it attempted to explain, in detail, how the aliens were able to travel to our world. I think this is a problem as if you are attempting such an explanation at least make it accessible to readers in part rather than completely losing them in the first sentence of a one-page diatribe.

It is a reasonably good read but by the end I had really lost interest and hope in ever learning the truth of why the aliens were here (in this I was all but correct). The plot proceeds at glacial speed with a lot of talk between the many characters, but not a lot actually happens. “The Rosetta Man” had been recommended to me by several people at a convention I attended and I desperately wanted to like this book but, ultimately, I was left wanting.

Rating: “A bit better than average”

Review Date: 2021-12-30

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Edge

Publication Date: 2016

ISBN: 9781770531246