Captain Lincoln wakes up on his last day of life, an eighty-year-old man, knowing that this day would always come. On the spaceship USNAS Hope Eternal life and death are strictly controlled. Every five years the new generation of eight babies is born and all those turning 80 must die to make way for them. Resources and space on Hope Eternal is limited and travel to Earth 2 is essential to preserve the human race. The science fiction aspects of this debut novel by EXO books are intriguing with the living space ship, the four implants that allowed the people to plug in to the ship and the other fascinating technology. While the illustrations by Kimberly Hazen are interesting I didn’t feel like they added a lot to the novel and at times were distracting from the storytelling.

 

What sets The Last Day of Captain Lincoln apart is its reflection on mortality. Each chapter begins with a quote about mortality that easily feeds into the poignancy of the novel’s theme. While Captain Lincoln understands and embraces the idea of his death this is a book about one single day, the actual day of his death. Being human, Captain Lincoln questions his death on his final day. He has every intention of facing his death with dignity and he does, but inwardly he questions the purpose, his legacy and the future of his loved ones. Captain Lincoln’s final day is full of routines that show a sense of deep community. Through various celebrations and community events, the reader gets a true sense of life aboard Hope Eternal and the inevitability of death.

 

This is where I question the science fiction nature of this story. The arc of the story follows a single day in Captain Lincoln’s life, his final day. However, there is no rising action, no tension, no climax. I thought when Captain Lincoln started questioning his death that he was going to rise up against it or maybe one of the younger generation would, but nothing. Everyone in the story is so good, to the point of frighteningly good. The children are all perfect in their behavior, their love of life. The adults are all wise beyond words. Eight people are born and eight people die. No one has ever died at the wrong time? Not only are there no enemies to fight, but no disease, the only thing to fear is death, except death is inevitable and not something to fear, so fear is gone. Conflict is gone. Which makes life aboard ship a form of death in and of itself. To me, this story was less science fiction and more a chilling satire. If everything in life is perfect, then what is the point of life?    

 

Note: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review

Published by Sarah BooksBeforeBandaids