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April, 1972. Three legendary astronauts embark on man's boldest space voyage yet--a yearlong mission to fly past our nearest planetary neighbor, Venus. Island of Clouds, the first full-length novel in the Altered Space series, is a gripping space epic based on NASA mission proposals from the late 1960s. Touching on literary and cultural influences ranging from Borges and Bukowski to Solaris and Star Trek, this story of exploration also offers a literary probing of the dark reaches of human nature: alcoholism, capitalism, authority, fatherhood, and the ephemeral nature of desire. Each entry in the Altered Space series is a wholly separate narrative, but all deal with the mysteries of space and time, progress and circularity. Every title is an ensō of words in which orbits of spacecraft, moons, planets and people allow us fresh perspectives on the cycles of our own lives.
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Brennan made me really feel I was along for the ride. The tension of the two leads made the read compelling--and that was when the mission was going well. When it took an unexpected turn, anticipating the outcome became a real page-turner for me--I didn't want to put it down. Brennan is a master of taut dialog and--by some magic I wish I could possess--getting inside the brains of real historical figures and having them act in ways that make me think, yes, that is exactly what that person would say, and feel. This is one of the best space dramas I've read in a long time.- Francis French, author, In the Shadow of the Moon A thrilling imagining of a proposed Venus fly-by mission in the early '70s, Gerald Brennan's Island of Clouds is both a captivating space adventure--fueled by meticulous attention to detail, compelling characterizations and taut drama--and a meta-alternate-history meditation on endless realities that leaves the reader with a new appreciation for our own.- David Hitt, author, Homesteading Space: The Skylab Story Brennan is clearly having a ball here, reimagining the what-ifs and might-have-beens from the golden age of space exploration. His research, passion, authenticity, and exuberant writing all bring the implausible to life--man and machine, earth and moon. For fans of Andy Weir's The Martian, NASA's Apollo era, 2001: A Space Odyssey, the 60s and 70s, Star Trek, and anything by Bradbury, Bukowski or Le Guin. Speculative sci-fi at its finest.- Neal Thompson, author, Light this Candle: The Life and Times of Alan Shepard, America's First Spaceman A dreamlike, surreal tale about the world's first human-helmed interplanetary mission--and the three diverse personalities who went to another world, but found themselves. Island of Clouds takes you on a wild ride to Venus, and beyond the infinite. I couldn't put it down!- Emily Carney, blogger and space historian, AmericaSpace Authenticity rings from every page of Island of Clouds a strange thing to say of a novel about a NASA mission that never happened--set in a looking-glass version of 1972, in which no one died in the Apollo 1 fire and LBJ is still president--but accurate nonetheless.It's an authenticity that comes from Brennan's assiduous research, but also from a generous imagination that takes in the character of individual astronauts, the sublime wonder of space travel, and the profound questions that it inspires about free will, responsibility, and the nature of reality.The result is an engrossing alternate-history technothriller that abundantly earns its epigraphs from Borges.- Martin Seay, author, The Mirror Thief Gerald Brennan's speculative sci-fi launches into worlds of fascinating and thrilling what-ifs, always with engaging, authentic characters piloting the ship. Island of Clouds proves that Brennan's what-ifs can feel just as true as real-life space adventures, and that the human element often outshines the stars.- Logan Ryan Smith, author, Y is for Fidelity [A]n excellent space yarn, right up there with The Martian.- Dan Adamo, Space Shuttle Flight Dynamics Officer [Five-heart review.] An intense character study set in space...Brennan effortlessly brings to life the overwhelming feelings of traveling through space and confronting inner demons.- Foreword Reviews, May/June 2017

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