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(Confluence #1)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  10,138 ratings  ·  984 reviews
NASA discovered the alien ship lurking in the asteroid belt in the 1960s. They kept the Target under intense surveillance for decades, letting the public believe they were exploring the solar system, while they worked feverishly to refine the technology needed to reach it.

The ship itself remained silent, drifting.

Dr. Jane Holloway is content documenting nearly-extinct
Kindle Edition, 377 pages
Published June 18th 2014 by Blue Bedlam Science Fiction
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  10,138 ratings  ·  984 reviews

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Nov 02, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mary Sue linguists, lovers of fan fiction pretending to be romance pretending to be science fiction
Oh how I wanted to like this book. A first contact novel, supposedly hard SF (it's not), with a linguist as the protagonist. It's getting buzz and acclaim everywhere and a huge number of 5-star reviews. And yes, it has a gorgeous cover.

After reading it (50 pages in, I already knew I wasn't going to like it; at 100 pages, I had to force myself to keep going), all I can say to those 5-star reviewers is "Are you freaking kidding me? This is what you consider great science fiction?"

First of all, the
Dec 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
I may be taking a bit of a different view on just who is the main character of this tale.

I'm sure most people will latch on to the leading female for her guts or supposedly for her language abilities which get nullified by the oncoming story. At least I agree that one complaint is valid against this tale: I expected a first contact story with an actual deduction of language and communication. Isn't it right in the title?

Alas, no. We get a high-tech pill solution, but I got over that really quic
Dec 05, 2014 marked it as to-read
Shelves: sci-fi

I bought this so fast after reading an interview where author responded to question about romantic subplot in her book like this:

"I don’t understand the controversy here. Nearly every major motion picture and television show, SF or not, contains romantic elements. People in all walks of life become attracted to each other, enamored of each other, all the freaking time…um…daily.

It’s a pretty major element of the human condition. Throughout history, so much of our art—poetry, paintings, music, has
Waffle Monarch
Jul 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
This is a toughie for me because this book has things I like. I love the idea of modern astronauts exploring an alien spacecraft way out in the solar system. Thats cool beans.

However the exploration itself turns out to be rather...uneventful? The ship is abandoned so its not like there's any intelligent aliens to interact with aside from the navigator alien who seizes the protagonist in a telepathic mind grip the instant she steps on board.

Theres two problems the crew has to face, neither of whi
Kevin Kuhn
Dec 13, 2017 rated it liked it
This was an entertaining first contact novel. Sure, there are a great deal of first contact novels, but this had enough of a different take to feel fresh. I enjoyed the plot and action from this novel. A lot happens and the details around the alien ship are interesting. The author does great work with medical particulars, which went a long way in pulling me into the story. The action is good and there were enough twists and turns to keep me interested throughout. I loved having a female protagon ...more
Jake Casella Brookins
Dec 05, 2014 rated it did not like it
This book has it all! Clumsy writing! Bad science! Weak character development! Dumb, over-used cliches! If you're hungry for a book that un-ironically uses the Roswell/Area 51 incident as "backstory" and looks like it was never proof-read, this is for you!

Seriously though don't read this book. The writing is TERRIBLE, both technically and stylistically. And the story and details are deeply dumb--aliens using Linnean taxonomy, a "deep genetic language" that is mostly half-assed Latin, NASA scient
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
First Contact. Humans meeting extraterrestrial life for the first time. It's a great setup, ripe with tension, conflict and the potential for the exploration of what it means to be human in a big universe.

I love a good first contact story, and Fluency is... well, it's a passable first contact story.

The novel centers around the exploration of a derelict spaceship in our asteroid belt, a vehicle that NASA has known about for decades, but has been unable to reach. When it is discovered that the st
Montzalee Wittmann
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fluency by Jennifer Foehner Wells and narrated by Susanna Burney is absolutely fabulous! A mix of characters on the way to an alien spaceship only to find it not how they expected. The crew member they brought to learn and communicate with the aliens actually succeeds but not in the way anyone expected! So many twists and turns! Is the alien friend or foe? So exciting! I want to follow this series!
The narration really brought this book together! Wonderful job!
Feb 24, 2015 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: people who like high school romance disguised as science fiction
Shelves: could-not-finish
I've given up on this book just shy of halfway through. Let me just say; there's nothing wrong with a romantic subplot, but when I'm constantly whacked in the face with it in a story that wasn't even remotely categorized as a romance, I get a little irritated. I got about as far as the characters being forced to shower together to "conserve resources," which resulted in unwanted erections and conversations about them, and then I gave up. This is not the book I wanted or expected to read when I c ...more
Oct 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sci-fi
- Cliché after a cliché.
- Really bad dialogues.
- A story that can be an episode of cheap sci-fi series.
- Characters act like kids.

I got the book for less than a dollar at amazon and I feel that I paid too much. Flipped through 60% of the book. No idea why somebody will read it.
Sep 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-romance
I was surprised at the number of mean-spirited reviews tallied for this novel by Jennifer Foehner Wells. I mean, how dare she categorize a book under SF&F>Science Fiction>Military>Space Fleet and include a romantic element to the story. That is not to say there aren't a lot of positive reviews, but, wow, the pot shots. I admittedly came at this book from the Romance>Science Fiction angle. Clearly we romance readers are a kinder, gentler crowd.

Ironically, I found the romance lacking, but the aero
Pippa DaCosta
4.5 Stars
I've seen this one around for a while, but initially dismissed it as hard scifi, so didn't look twice. Then I heard it was more character based, with a romantic aspect and a female protag, so I thought, let's give it a shot. I'm glad I did.

This is definitely half scifi, half romance. Which has surprised some reviewers, I think. Told from two POV's, Alan Bergen and Jane Holloway (who reminds me of Katherine Janeway from Voyager, for some reason). I adore Alan's voice, and really enjoye
Anna Neal
Nov 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I picked up Fluency on a recommendation from Rachel Bach's blog. She was raving about and it was only 2$ or something so I figured I'd give it a try. I'm glad I did.

The book was immediately engaging and super creepy. The first chapter starts the story off with lots of suspense. As the main characters approach an alien space ship after travelling for months, they dock to find it empty. When something turns on the lights and gravity for them, things start to get weird.

The main character of the boo
Christopher Shay
Aug 12, 2014 rated it did not like it
I rarely fail to finish books I start. I made one of my rare exceptions for 'Fluency'. I might have invested more effort in getting past the first 100 pages if I had paid for the book instead of borrowing it, but I doubt it.

Fluency reads as if Wells meticulously designed her characters to irritate me- each is basically a tired high school character trope (the jock, the boy-nerd, the girl-nerd, etc...) who has for some inexplicable reason been recruited for a mission of incredible importance. Non
Jun 16, 2015 marked it as dnf
DNF 57%

This was boring. I was bored.
11811 (Eleven)
Nov 30, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Free/over-priced for Prime members. DNF @ 68%. I can't get past the bad writing far enough to comment on the story.
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fluency by Jennifer Foehner Wells is what 2001: A Space Odyssey would’ve been if the monolith had actually talked to the crew.

NASA has known about an alien spaceship parked in the Asteroid Belt since the 1960s but has kept the information from the public. All efforts to establish radio contact have been met with silence. In the early 21st century, NASA finally develops the technology required to send six astronauts to the ship to discover its secrets.

Dr. Jane Holloway is a linguist and a reluct
Deanna Stanley
Jul 26, 2014 marked it as never-finished
Shelves: sci-fi
Remember when you were a kid and you mixed all your favorite paint colors together and were disappointed when it turned into a muddy mess? That's Fluency. Too many good things.

Small team of people exploring a mysterious space ship
First Contact
Crazy team leader who see conspiracies around every corner
Mysterious and deadly alien disease
Unlocking humanity's potential
Humanity is the only possible savior of the galaxy
Inter stellar war against... insects!
Small team of people left on an
Patrick F. Murphy
Aug 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This - this book, this author - is why I started reading science fiction 45 years ago. Jennifer Foehner Wells has gifted the reading public with a work that has everything good science fiction should. There's adventure, exploration of alien technology, and new science. But in "Fluency," as in the best science fiction, the reader is given context for all of the SFX stage dressings with social interactions and well-developed three-dimensional characters. ...more
Amanda Kratz
True rating 3.5

Read for the Frisco Dead and Unread book club

This book very much feels and reads like a YA novel despite most characters being 30+. In particular the male characters in this book are moody, irrational, and very childish. These are supposed to be NASA trained astronauts who have spent years planning and training and they act like they are on a playground fighting over the teeter-totter.

I found the beginning of the book extremely unbelievable. First contact plot line. No military i
Tyler J Gray
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those into light sci-fi that don't mind some rom-com in it
Jane gets asked to go on a mission to space because she has a talent for languages and they are going to a spaceship that NASA has been looking at for awhile that is going to soon be obliterated by an asteroid. They think it has no inhabitants but either way she will be useful because if they are wrong, well she can help them communicate and if they are right there will still be stuff to decipher on it. She initially is hesitant to go but ends up going. Alan is the one they send to ask her to go ...more
Aug 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
This was ok. But not great.

It needs an editor to fix some of the sloppy language. People simply speak in a way that's unbelievable in their circumstances. Or the author intrudes with a pop culture reference we didn't need.

We start by having the story fed to us as present-day interspersed with backstory. Then this style gets dropped.

There's a lot that happens in these pages, but nothing really grabbed my attention or made me care too much about the characters. Out of the 6 or 7 characters (see, I
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016
Ah. Might have rated a little bit higher if I didn't personally cringe so much at longwinded descriptions of kisses, or the occurrence of the phrase "her slippery wetness". The linguist-in-space stuff was neat, but not quite sufficient. ...more
Apr 06, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
Gee. I'll try to not get swept away with my negative feelings here. Anyways, the main thing you need to know is that this book is not hard science fiction about first contact with aliens, it's a romance. The scifi part is mostly a thin frosting upon a story of a very general hero and heroine wanting to get together.

I have nothing against romance, if it's well written and believable I might even like it. This is not the fact here. It's basically every worst cliche you can find in bad fanfiction
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was absolutely amazed and floored in the best way possible by the amount of knowledge, research, time, geek love and heart that went into this book. It's impressive how vivid and realistic all the characters are. You will bite your nails off for them and their adventures :) The locations and places are painstakingly thought out to the finest detail. I have a huge admiration and adoration for Jennifer, her beautiful imagination and fabulous writing skills. ...more
Laura Thomas
Mar 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here’s the thing. Since the 1960’s NASA has known about the stationary alien spacecraft in the Greater Astroid Belt. They’ve kept quiet about it while waiting for technology to be developed to reach it.

Six astronauts launch into space to explore the ship in hopes of reverse engineering it’s technology. With no signs of life in all those years, they presumed it was empty. They were wrong.

I’ve just recently started reading science fiction again so I didn’t know what to expect with this book. What
Mike Nemeth
Sep 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"Fluency" is listed as the second novel from author Jennifer Foehner Wells. Damn. Good writer. It's a yarn that traces its origins to Area 51 and 1947 space invaders. The story centers on the travails of linguist Jane Holloway, who finds herself pursued hotly by NASA to check out a derelict space ship. She spends 10 months crammed into a tiny module to get there with a team of overly male compatriots and one other female. Wells doesn't spend much time belaboring the contact issues. As in naval g ...more
Vicky N.
Jun 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
NASA finds an alien ship in space and for the next decades they start creating a recon mission to visit the ship and find information about this alien society and why they left the ship abandoned. They decide to send a group of six people, one of them world renowned linguist Jane Halloway to figure out the alien language. They travel for several months toward the location of the ship and despite believing to be abandoned when they are about to dock everything lit up. And there's a voice in Jane' ...more
A ship that NASA has been observing since 1947 is the whole impetus for mankind's grasping climb toward near space. A very talented linguist and five other crew are sent on a 10 month trip to approach the alien ship and survey/make first contact/and retrieve this boon of alien technology for the US government.

This has everything that would be happening on a mission like this- personal baggage- confined spaces- giant egos- ambition and intelligence and fear.

Hell to the yes I say! Everything abo
Susan Quinn
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love Jenn Wells' debut SF, Fluency. It had everything I love in a good speculative fiction tale: great science, intriguing and realistic characters, action, drama, even some heartfelt romance. It's a First Contact story, but it's so much more than that. SF that focuses on the humans amidst the technology while intriguing us about what exists beyond the stars and our place in them? Count me among the many who are eagerly awaiting the next installment of this series! ...more
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As a child growing up in rural Illinois, I had the wild outdoors, a budding imagination, and books for company. My interest in science fiction was piqued early on when a family friend loaned me a Ray Bradbury compilation, among loads of other wonderful scifi books.

Learn more about Jen at:

Other books in the series

Confluence (5 books)
  • Remanence (Confluence, #2)
  • Inheritance (Confluence #3)
  • Valence (Confluence, #4)
  • Vengeance (Confluence #5)

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“You’re supposed to be the damsel in distress. We’re supposed to save you.” She snorted and pulled her hand away. “Times have changed.” “But what does that make us? Two dudes in distress? Pathetic.” 5 likes
“He’d picked up on the structure and rules of the alien code quickly, drawing parallels to his extensive knowledge of code on Earth. He’d riffed, “It’s all just ones and zeros no matter where you go in the universe, Jane.” 5 likes
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