Book Reviews, Books, Fiction, Friday Five Challenge, Fun Stuff, Sci-fi, The Writing Process, Writing Tools

Would you BUY or PASS? ‘Oxygen’ a #SciFi novel for #FridayFiveChallenge


Welcome to the ‘Friday Five Challenge.’

Would you BUY or PASS if you had only a thumbnail image and five minutes to decide?

Welcome to the #FridayFiveChallenge. The original idea comes from Rosie Amber, and you can join up at

The rules are laid out at the end of this post if you fancy having a go.

Here is my contribution for this week:

Over the past week, my neighbourhood has sounded like a war zone. Not because I live in a dodgy part of town, but more likely down to the 2 for 1 offer on Fireworks. I’ve jumped off the sofa and thrown myself under the kitchen table more times than I care to remember, so I thought I’d use the experience for my Friday Five Challenge and typed ‘Explosion’ into the Amazon search bar. Nothing jumped out at me (no pun intended!) until I got about four pages in and then I found this:

Oxygen (A Science Fiction Suspense Novel) By John Olson and Randy Ingermanson



Halfway to the Red Planet, an explosion leaves the four-member crew of the Ares 10 with only enough oxygen for one.

Valkerie Jansen, the ship’s doctor, is tough, beautiful, and has an uncanny knack for survival.

Bob Kaganovski, the ship’s mechanic, is paid to be paranoid — and he’s good at it. He’s worried that Valkerie is mentally unbalanced, possibly even dangerous.

Which is just too bad, because Bob’s falling in love with her.

Meanwhile, NASA is trying to figure out who should live and who should die, when there’s only enough oxygen for one.

My Analysis:

I’m a big fan of sci-fi films and TV shows, but as I read over the blurb for Oxygen, I realised I hardly ever read sci-fi books. The cover certainly attracts attention, and I like the space age typography effect, but would this book be able to tip the scales from TV to eBook?

On the Amazon page there is a short excerpt included under the blurb:

Bob Kaganovski had shampoo in his eyes when the decompression alarm went off. He grabbed the suction hose and ran it frantically over his face and eyes. Footsteps pounded outside the shower.

“Decompression!” shouted Josh Bennett, mission commander of the Ares 10. “Get to the EVA suits now! We’ve got about fifteen minutes.”

Bob popped open the Velcroed shower door and grabbed a towel. Fear knotted his gut. Only fifteen minutes!

He stepped out of the shower and swiped a towel across the soles of his feet, drying them just enough so he wouldn’t kill himself on the stairs. He ran through a corridor to the steep circular stairway that led down to Level 1 of the Habitation Module.

The decompression alarm beeped once every two seconds. The interval was keyed to cabin pressure. When it got down to vacuum, the beeps would merge into one steady drone. If he wasn’t in his suit by then, he wouldn’t hear it. For one thing, sound wouldn’t travel in a vacuum. For another, he’d be dead.

I like the writing style but wonder if this book is aimed at a younger audience. I have to say I’m intrigued, but will the technical aspects of this mission and spacecraft be authentic (not that I know anything about spacecrafts!). In the same way that a historical novel would need thorough research, I was curious if the same applied to sci-fi. The reviews seem to be complimentary about this. Here is an example of a five star review on

Four NASA astronauts are set to be the first humans to set foot on Mars. A suspicious explosion cripples their spaceship, leaving only enough oxygen for one of them to survive.

Oxygen is a tense near future science fiction thriller exploring themes of friendship, trust, loneliness, faith and science.

What’s good about this book?

First, the characters. The lead characters of Valkerie Jansen and Bob Kaganovski are realistic and larger than life. As they journeyed together through space, I became increasingly attached to them, and I would find myself pondering their fate even when I wasn’t reading the book. It’s a couple of weeks since I finished reading Oxygen, and I’ve continued thinking about Bob and Valkyrie – which is unusual for me.

Second, the storyline. Ingermanson and Olson start as they intend to continue – at breakneck pace, with nail biting tension. There are constant twists and surprises that keep you turning the page and wondering “how are they ever going to get out of this mess?” The ending was a wonderful surprise and yet, once it happened, it seemed inevitable.

Third, the detail. This is clearly a well-researched novel, and both authors are professional scientists. Their intricate knowledge of space travel is used to add relevant plot twists, yet I was never overwhelmed with technological details. In summary, this is a tense thriller exploring deep questions. I enjoy reading thrillers by John Grisham and Hal Coben, and I enjoyed Oxygen just as much as any book by these authors.

The Stats:

The book has a whopping 628 pages, and the Kindle price is £3.26. There are 10 reviews on, all of them four and five stars, and 148 on, 65% of them are five stars.

I have read Randy Ingermanson’s, How to Write a Novel using the Snowflake Method after it was recommended to me, and I do like his style of writing. I have yet to read any of his fiction work.

With Christmas just around the corner, and a hefty work load, I know that I won’t be able to read this until next year so I will pass today, but I am going to put Oxygen on my BUY list in the future. 

Oxygen – buy your copy.

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Take a look at who else has taken part in the Friday Five Challenge:

Rosie goes On Tour with a vlogger –

Cathy looks at a Crime/Thriller –

Liz is searching for Postcards –


What is the Friday Five Challenge?

In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions on small postage stamp size book covers (thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

The Challenge is this… IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES…

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description of this book,

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

(then write a little analysis about your decision)

10 thoughts on “Would you BUY or PASS? ‘Oxygen’ a #SciFi novel for #FridayFiveChallenge”

  1. I pass by these covers on Amazon the way I do similar pictures of films/series on Netflix – not for me, can’t comment (don’t know why I am, really!!)

    Liked by 1 person

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