A remarkable journey across the galaxy begins in 2037 as Earth emerges from a ruinous decade of war and terrorist activity. There is a widespread shortage of energy and a surge in global warming. And even while at peace, old loyalties and animosities between countries rack the political landscape. The first manned mission to Mars in the Starship Aelita—a technological marvel commanded by the heroic but deeply flawed Captain Adam Sietzer—proposes to further unify the world and lead the way into a harmonious and robust future.
But then an unnerving string of events, including sabotage, an attempted murder, and the emergence of the first sentient machine, challenges the crew to look within themselves for the courage and wisdom to survive. Enormous sacrifices are made until their path to self-discovery is joined to the interplanetary quest for knowledge.
The Astral Imperative: To traverse the heavens,
to unite at the heart and penetrate the mind of God.
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WHAT REVIEWERS & READERS ARE SAYING
The setting, the mission and even the plot fade into the background as the complexity of human relations move to the fore. By the time I finished reading I was stunned by how co...
The setting, the mission and even the plot fade into the background as the complexity of human relations move to the fore. By the time I finished reading I was stunned by how compelling a vision Dresner had created!
As a senior sales rep for TOR for 17 years, I’ve read more than a thousand manuscripts. The Astral Imperative is, by far, the best. My first reaction was that his novel was bette...
As a senior sales rep for TOR for 17 years, I’ve read more than a thousand manuscripts. The Astral Imperative is, by far, the best. My first reaction was that his novel was better than some of the stuff that I sell. Dresner was bringing a component of general fiction into a science fiction story. That’s what made Dune great. His characters were developed and you cared about the people.
The quest is as large as they come: To 'penetrate the mind of God.'The Astral Imperative, Volume I: The Dream – Presented as the first volume in a philosophically focused science...
The quest is as large as they come: To 'penetrate the mind of God.'The Astral Imperative, Volume I: The Dream – Presented as the first volume in a philosophically focused science-fiction trilogy.
In the year 2037, when the earth has been savaged by violence, the starship Aelita is headed into the void, the first human voyage to Mars, captained by Adam Sietzer, who has notions of bringing the world back together in harmony.
Dresner’s evocative writing is the kind that summons the dream of many an old science-fiction reader eager to recreate the “sense of wonder” upon first exploring the cosmos between the pages of a book. He’s colorfully descriptive: “Dusk on the red planet was most beautiful; the sky turned vermillion, blue, yellow, with an occasional hint of green and violet, the landscape turning to pastel shades of gold and pink. Distant peaks cast long and languid shadows across the rocky terrain, and puffy clouds clung to the mountaintops.
Unlike that of all too many self-published works, Dresner’s writing is clean and well edited. His characters also defy the low expectations of self-published works, rising from the page as real, three-dimensional people.
Excellent read, left me wanting more!
I found this book to be an excellent read. The sub-plots fit together well, keeping me interested and on my toes. I found it...
Excellent read, left me wanting more!
I found this book to be an excellent read. The sub-plots fit together well, keeping me interested and on my toes. I found it hard to put the book down, as the story always left me wanting to know where the next twist would take me. I just ordered Volume II !
Outstanding Sci-Fi read, highly recommended! Fortunately this book has an intriguing cover image. I had been randomly browsing the Boulder Bookstore recently and came across this...
Outstanding Sci-Fi read, highly recommended! Fortunately this book has an intriguing cover image. I had been randomly browsing the Boulder Bookstore recently and came across this gem. I am a fan of both sci-fi and non-fiction science. I also like a good story! Without a doubt, this book had me hooked from the beginning. Perhaps my own selfish desire to explore space one day was taken advantage of; the author puts together a very compelling narrative of modern space exploration, yet includes enough fantasy to make it enjoyable. The cast is phenomenal; without spoiling anything, I must say I became quite emotionally attached to this crew and their Earthbound compatriots, especially in the latter half of the novel.
This novel is a unique experience; like other commentators, I am surprised I had not heard of this elsewhere. Being the first edition, published barely a year ago, the book can hardly be blamed for a few minor typos/grammar errors, notable but nothing that detracted from the experience in total. It was well worth the purchase, indeed I can’t wait to continue the series when the 2nd and 3rd parts arrive at my door later this week!
I presume the author is only getting his feet wet in this genre of writing, as briefly mentioned in the intro. But as a first work, it’s wonderful to see such talent from a new author. I hope to see more by Robert Dresner in the future.
All I can say is WOW!.
I bought this book in a local boulder bookstore just looking for a quick read on the flight back to LA and i was just blown away!…this book is incr...
All I can say is WOW!.
I bought this book in a local boulder bookstore just looking for a quick read on the flight back to LA and i was just blown away!…this book is incredible I dont know how this has not gained any mainstream press. This book is an amazing unknown book of pure genius not to mention there is more to come as per the back cover. Robert Dresner is on the brink of stardom, A MUST READ!
Everyone Agrees Robert Dresner's Sci-fi Novel is Great ... Robert Dresner, with his short, tough-guy haircut, Bronx accent and agitated mannerisms seems an unlikely person to wr...
Everyone Agrees Robert Dresner's Sci-fi Novel is Great ... Robert Dresner, with his short, tough-guy haircut, Bronx accent and agitated mannerisms seems an unlikely person to write an emotionally resonant and thought-provoking novel. Words flow easily from him in conversation as he anticipates questions and speaks extemporaneously on just about any subject. Words aren’t the problem. It’s just hard to imagine him sitting still long enough to compose much more than a paragraph.
Perhaps even more surprising is that Dresner’s self-published Astral Imperative begins as a simple science fiction narrative about the first manned mission to Mars before revealing itself as an insightful meditation on relationships, heroism and human foibles. Writing in a direct, unadorned prose style, Dresner creates a space ship that is large enough to carry not only his diverse group of astronauts but also the reader’s imagination.
I first met Dresner a few years ago on his day job as one of Boulder’s best house painters. He showed up at my condominium in dungarees and a crisp button-down shirt to advise my wife and me about paint colors and provide an estimate. He was blunt in his vision of eliminating our clashing colors and shook his graying head a few times, asking us if we were sure we wanted to keep the canary yellow in our living room.
He exuded confidence and competence as he paced the four rooms of our home like a caged panther, turning off and on lights, holding up paint swatches to the wall, eyeing the high ceiling of our staircase and explaining just what a pain in the ass it was going to be to get our house painted. He so fully inhabited his role of professional painter that it never occurred to me that he might harbor secret writing ambitions. He was simply “the painter.”
I should have known better. Ever since becoming the head book buyer for the Boulder Book Store in 1997, I have been besieged by writers. Manuscripts have miraculously appeared from locked draws, stapled poetry collections have been pulled out of coat pockets at parties, and bizarre plot summaries have ruined football games at local bars. It’s so bad that I’ve told people that I am a ballet dancer (that always silences them when they view my doughy 5-foot-4 frame) or claimed to be a sports reporter in town to cover the big game. I’ll say anything to avoid the awkwardness of hearing about all of those unpublished books from needy authors.
I let my guard down with Dresner, however, and in a conversation at the end of the painting job I mentioned my position at the bookstore. His eyes lit up, and he told me that he’d written several novels. I tried to change the subject and had almost forgotten the conversation when he showed up at my office a few days later to pick up his check.
“You were the first stranger that I’d asked to read a book of mine in my entire life,” Dresner said to me in a recent interview. “It was very hard for me. I had left the bookstore and was in the alley when I decided to come back in and give the book to you. I knew that I had to do something. People were telling me I had to make it happen.”
The novel that Dresner delivered to me was on 287 manuscript pages bound in a hardback clamshell black binder. It weighed nearly four pounds. He nervously extolled the virtues of the binder that he’d picked up in New York City, rather than of his book, and told me to please return it if I wasn’t going to read the book because each binder cost $40. When he left I noticed that the price tag from Lincoln Stationary was still on the inside cover — $33.95.
After a month and a few guilt-inducing follow-up visits to the bookstore from Robert, I began reading the novel with great trepidation. Gradually my hesitancy disappeared as I became absorbed in his tale and enthralled by his characters.
These characters include the heroic but isolated astronaut, Captain Adam Sietzer, the second-in-charge Russian, Vladimir Sussenko, and crew members from Japan, Germany, China, India and Africa. There are men and women as well as people of differing religions. It is a miniature United Nations hurdling towards Mars.
Dresner’s astronauts are deeply flawed, all of them hiding some psychological weakness. One is probably criminally psychotic. It is fascinating to see how these people react to each other in the confines of a space ship. The Astral Imperative is really an old-fashioned chamber play. The setting, the mission and even the plot fade into the background as the complexity of human relations move to the fore.
Dresner uses a remarkably creative device to help expose the relationships between the astronauts. Also on board the ship is a computer game called “the Dream Machine,” created by the Japanese astronaut, Makoto. The game creates a holographic image of Mars that every member of the crew views and can change. The image of Mars morphs based on the game entries from various crew members. It’s a way for the bored crew to pass the long flight, but also a way to work out the emotions and expectations of their historic mission.
“The Dream Machine came out of thin air,” Dresner said. “I didn’t even have a point of reference for it. As I wrote the book, I created it. I wanted to know if it was possible to get 8 or 12 players and play a SimCity-style game to the max. Instead of just ideas I wanted ideas and emotions. The Dream Machine gives them a physical component. What happens in the game when seven people are angry and three are happy?”
As the novels progresses, the game evolves into something quite unexpected. At first the color of the planet changes based on the moods of the astronauts, and then structures begin appearing on the surface, someone even hacking into the program and turning the whole thing into a sexist joke that creates a lot of tension between the astronauts. Eventually, the Dream Machine begins exhibiting the traits of a sentient being.
By the time I finished reading I was stunned by how compelling a vision Dresner had created.