Meet the Unimaginables by Paul Slutsky is a science fiction novel about the most fascinating of topics: interacting with life on other planets. A scientist named Alan Norton gets the chance of a lifetime to explore the universe as part of the Search for Life program, with each new life form and environment more unimaginable than the last, and he’s soon thrust into a role that could change the fate of the entire universe.
The greatest strength in this novel is Alan Norton himself; he’s something of a MacGyver – quick-thinking and endlessly resourceful. Really, you’d follow him anywhere because he’s a fun character for the heart of a book. That he literally travels the universe ups the ante, as you want to see how Norton reacts to these increasingly unique situations.
At times the book could be mistaken for a middle grade novel in its complexity and level of prose. It could use a bit more emotional depth, which would raise the stakes of what is a truly momentous premise. But what is here is well-expressed and enjoyable, a real old-fashioned science fiction yarn. One grammatical issue is using em-dashes instead of quote marks for dialogue, which seems like an unnecessary choice by the author.
As a bonus, this volume of Meet the Unimaginables collects the two Alan Norton books: Both Awaiting the Doomsday about a second sun appearing in the sky and alien invasion of Earth, and the new adventure Meet the Unimaginables.