John B. Olson, Randall Ingermanson
Bethany House, 2002, 361 pp.
The crew has reached Mars after a harrowing near death space trip from earth (see OXYGEN). Now a new survival test begins with the crew trying to live on a planet that makes Antarctica seem like a sauna and no rescue flight possible. Nothing should be able to survive in this frozen inhabitant.
The four member crew struggles with the harshness of life while trying to meet NASA's detailed expectations in which every nanosecond is booked. Meanwhile, deeply religious microbial ecologist Dr. Valkerie Jansen finds proof that life once existed on the angry red planet, but swears she has also seen a “fifth man” sabotaging their mission. No one else has seen this ET so Commander Dr. Bob Kaganovski worries that she is cracking up under the strain. Illness has hit the team too in what seems like a War of the Worlds reversal. Martian madness grips the crew, but is that why Bob cannot stop looking at Valkerie while they wonder if infected, can they go home?
The second book in John B. Olson, and Randall Ingermanson marvelous Martian mission, THE FIFTH MAN, is a Christian science fiction thriller that enables the audience to feel they are living on the frozen tundra along with the crew.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner