Thursday, April 22, 2010

Book Review: 'Earth Has Been Found' by D. F. Jones

3 / 5 Stars

At first glance ‘Earth Has Been Found’ (Dell paperback, 1979, 267 pp., cover artist uncredited) seems like a schlocky effort to cash in on the popularity of the movie ‘Alien’, which was released in the same year. But ‘Earth’ is actually a pretty decent sci fi thriller in its own right.

The beginning of the novel reads like a UFO mystery, focusing on the mysterious disappearance, and reappearance in space and time, of military and civilian aircraft.

The first of these events takes place in April 1974, when a US Air Force F4 Phantom flying above California vanishes from the radar. The jet reappears in August, but this time near the Pacific island of Guam; the pilot is disoriented and winds up crashing and burning on the Guam airbase.

Then in March 1976 a Soviet transport plane disappears mid-air during a flight from Moscow to Irkutsk; it reappears in January 1977 over the Arctic Ocean. The pilots survive to land the aircraft but they are bewildered to learn that what to them was a momentary blackout has translated into the loss of nine months of time in the real world.

Air Force officer Frank Arcasso is asked to head a covert US government team, code-named ‘Icarus’, to investigate these disturbing phenomena.

When in September 1982 a Boeing 747 full of tourists from the upstate New York town of Abdera disappears en route from Paris to New York, all the Icarus team can do is wait in suspense. When the 747 re-materializes in the air over Des Moines in December, it is clear that an event of unprecedented magnitude has taken place. The travelers aboard the plane are confused but healthy. Have they been abducted by aliens ? Has the plane entered and departed a Time Warp of some sort ?

e truth, one could say, is in the very early stages of gestation...

I won’t spoil the read by divulging anything more about the plot, but suffice it to say that author D. F. Jones had written several novels prior to ‘Earth’ and he knew how to put together a readable thriller.

His writing is clear and straightforward in the ‘Michael Crichton’ model and the alien parasites, while not as impressive as those from the ‘Aliens’ franchise, are still formidable adversaries, with a biology based on that of Terran insects.

‘Earth Has Been Found’ is a good ‘alien infection’ novel, and it’s worth keeping an eye out for it on the used book shelves.

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