Solarium-3 is Book One of a trilogy and is lightly based upon real-world events as scientists seal themselves in a self-contained domed environment only to find their man-made habitat is flawed. Up to this point, all sounds familiar: the departure begins when they beg Project Control to release them and stop the experiment, only to find Control refuses them freedom.
What happens thereafter creates a complex, engrossing scifi read made all the more captivating and realistic by its grounding in an actual experiment (Biosphere 2) where the scientists stayed in their self-contained, sealed environment for two years. That experiment became more of a lesson in psychology and interpersonal conflict than habitat maintenance: Solarium-3 is where the similarities between Solarium-3 and Biosphere 2 diverge.
Here the scientists (who live in a series of interconnected 'pods') are committed to four years - but they become as devoted to getting out as they were to getting in when their environment becomes toxic and threatens their lives. So why is there any question about halting the experiment under these life-threatening conditions?
The truth may at first seem a bit predictable (either that the true experiment is something different, or that something has happened outside their sealed world), but Control hasn't actually vanished: it's just not talking. And so what seems a conventional progression of events turns into something satisfyingly different.
And when it does, all their lives will be changed forever.
Solarium-3 begins as any good science fiction read should: with a believable scientific premise and scenario and realistic characters whose personalities and concerns involve readers in the story. All this serves to create a solid foundation of logical events and actions that test characters and readers alike with unexpected twists and puzzles that range from a mysterious power-killing light show in the skies to what becomes a lesson in not just personal survival, but perhaps of the human race as a whole.
Any reader of survivalist scifi knows the typical progression of such a story line as characters struggle to build a new world and face off in power struggles. It's all about taking control of environmental challenges, new situations, and even of each other.
Who will 'win' under such circumstances depends not so much upon survival of the fittest as it does the ability of everyone to move outside social convention to place greater good over individual gain.
One thing is for sure: readers will avidly follow the adventures and interactions of this band of survivors as they build their strange new world, and will be sorry when the story ends.
But not too sorry: remember; this is Book One and segues neatly into the next offering, Haeven....Continua