Last Alien Encounter by Eric Valespino (a pseudonym) offers a science fiction story set in two time periods: modern-day America and approximately 10,000 years ago when primitive humans were nomadic hunter/gatherers. It revolves around a mysterious blue crystal with transformative powers.
Christopher Mathew was considered the country’s best environmental geologist before mentally unraveling after his wife passed away. When he stumbles across two massive (seemingly Mesoamerican) stone heads in an unexplored cave in the Montana mountains, he begins investigating the cave’s strange treasures: blue luminescent crystals that seem extraterrestrial. His research connects him to inhabitants of the cave that lived there millennia earlier— and leads him and his friends into peril. The revelations they uncover will change how he sees humankind and its place in the universe.
Valdespino’s story has potential; however, it’s hamstrung before it begins with unnecessary notes from the author: An “About the Author” section tells readers he “is looking to take storytelling to the next level in sci-fi stories” (best to let the work stand on its own merit), and a Preface that’s essentially a synopsis all but ruins any surprises readers might subsequently encounter.
Even more distracting are the writing issues throughout. Many sequences are simply info-dumps or narrative exposition, creating an emotionally detached read. The author also sometimes fluctuates between past and present tense and from third person to first person, which is confusing.
Additionally, the author’s penchant for “telling” rather than “showing” robs the story of its vitality, as in: “The matter of the rocks remains unresolved; where did he find them? Curiosity is unique in its making. It spreads out like a spider web on a windshield until you see nothing but its fractured presence. It has consumed David the same way. He breathes it, tastes it, and sees the world through it…”
Such issues, coupled with a deeply unsatisfying ending, ultimately makes for a disappointing read.
Also available in paperback.