The Caphenon By Fletcher DeLancey

The Caphenon - Fletcher DeLancey

Travel to the planet of Alsea and meet Lancer Tal at the cusp of making history.

Nearly 50 years ago, I got hooked, hooked for good, on science fiction. I was a young kid living in the backwoods. The highlight of the week was the opening hour of our small school library, until my parents finally decided to buy a television. We kids were allowed to watch one show on the weekend. And that is when Star Trek, its diverse crew, and a multitude of different cultures came into our little town, into our living room, every Saturday night. Science fiction has been one of my favorite genres ever since, especially after I discovered the first traces of gender diversity. It may have been the gay green riders in McCaffrey’s Pern Universe, or the Renunciates in the Darkover series. I was delighted to find strong female characters like Honor Harrington, when female role models were so sadly missing in real life. There were limitless possibilities to be explored in science fiction. Later, I discovered the world of lesbian fiction and the treasure trove of lesbian fan fiction. Of course I looked for science fiction, and found Fletcher DeLancey’s writings. Her stories were amazing in their depth and quality.

Now, years later, I have the honor of reviewing DeLancey’s first published science fiction work: The Caphenon. This is what The Caphenon is about: What if tomorrow a space ship entered our world? What if the survival of Earth depended on these strangers? On the planet Alsea, during a mellow summer night, Lancer Andira Tal gets a history-changing call. Not only is there other intelligent life in the universe, but it’s landing on her planet right now. The strangers, led by Captain Ekatya Serrado, have a frightening story to tell. They protected Alsea from being attacked, but the reprieve is only temporary. And the aliens are in for a surprise as well, because the Alseans are not as low tech or vulnerable as they think.

The Caphenon excels with meticulous and believable world-building, and combines it with a touch of space opera replete with epic fights for survival. DeLancey does a great job of taking the reader on a journey of “first contact” under duress. Of course—and this is what makes the scenario so fascinating—both sides are in for surprises and clashes of culture.

This is only the opening book of a series, called Chronicles of Alsea. DeLancey makes sure there is a solid foundation of alien mores, customs, and traditions, as well as strong characters to carry not only the story told in The Caphenon but a whole series. Her prose flows faultlessly. It lends a strong voice to strong female characters. I especially liked the wide range of subjects The Caphenon touches on, from religion to the ethics of a warrior caste, from science to survival fighting, from politics to psychology.

So if you want to kick back and go for a ride through deep space to the world of Alsea, get yourself a copy of The Caphenon. Fortunately, the sequel will be available this year for all of us who want to follow up on those characters who won a place in our heart and on Alsea, a planet so like and so unlike what we know.

Get it on Apple Books