A visceral space thriller—perfect for fans of Arrival and The Martian—following the sole survivor of a catastrophic accident in space that leaves her drifting in the void with only the voice of her estranged husband, a NASA scientist, to guide her back to Earth.
Commander Maryam “May” Knox awakes from a medically induced coma alone, adrift in space on a rapidly failing ship, with little to no memory of who she is or why she’s there.
Slowly, she pieces together that she’s the captain of the ship, Hawking II; that she was bound for Europa—one of Jupiter’s moons—on a research mission; and that she’s the only survivor of either an accident—or worse, a deliberate massacre—that has decimated her entire crew. With resources running low, and her physical strength severely compromised, May must rely on someone back home to help her. The problem is: everyone thinks she’s dead.
Back on Earth, it’s been weeks since Hawking II has communicated with NASA, and Dr. Stephen Knox is on bereavement leave to deal with the apparent death of his estranged wife, whose decision to participate in the Europa mission strained their marriage past the point of no return. But when he gets word that NASA has received a transmission from May, Stephen comes rushing to her aid.
What he doesn’t know is that not everyone wants May to make it back alive. Even more terrifying: she might not be alone on that ship. Featuring a twisting and suspenseful plot and compelling characters, Across the Void is a moving and evocative thriller that you won’t be able to put down.
Vaughn's uneven near-future debut centers on May Knox, pilot and commander of the Stephen Hawking II, who wakes up alone in her spacecraft with no memory of recent events and no idea how her history-making voyage to the Jovian moon Europa failed so completely. On Earth, her husband, Stephen, whose research fueled the mission, is stunned to discover she's alive. Over time, May recalls they filed for divorce before she left. As the two struggle to close the physical and metaphorical distance between them, they cannot be certain whether the obstacles in their way are already too great. Readers drawn to the promise of a female-centric SF novel with a strong heroine and a sassy AI will be disappointed to find that as the story comes to a head, old conventions of male ego driven storytelling surface, making this work less than groundbreaking. In the end, supposed protagonist May (who boldly declares to Stephen, "I don't need a hero. I'm the hero") is rendered as just another damsel in distress. As novels about female astronauts continue to bubble up, this one sinks.