This one might need a bit of background. Lately, I’ve been getting interested in something called speculative evolution, which is a branch of science fiction about how life might evolve on other planets—or in the future, or in Earth’s past, for example if the dinosaurs hadn’t gone extinct. This is more than just inventing aliens for a sci-fi story. This is inventing aliens with the whole environment they live and evolved in. The movie Avatar did this…decently well, with its lush jungle and many carefully-designed animals, although there was still quite a bit of room for improvement.
Sometimes, you’ll see works that are specifically about speculative evolution. The most famous ones of the twenty-first century are probably the docu-fiction series The Future is Wild and the sci-fi drama Primeval. And this is where Junction falls.
Junction is the debut novel of Daniel M. Bensen. I happened to see him advertising it on a speculative evolution forum, and I decided to check it out. In the story, Junction is a planet that is connected to Earth and many other planets via wormholes, and we see lots of speculative evolution there with lifeforms from other planets spreading through the wormholes to Junction and interacting with one another.
The science and the alien life, those were pretty cool. The plot, the characters—that needs some work. Mr. Bensen has made a fair start; I didn’t have any trouble getting through the book, which isn’t always the case, but honestly, I came for the aliens and stayed for the aliens.
My rating: 3 out of 5.
Spoilers below.Continue reading