OXYGEN by John B. Olson and Randall Ingermanson is a science fiction novel about a mission to Mars. The story immerses the reader in the world of NASA, the lives of its astronauts, and space travel. Portraying scientific detail realistically, but understandably for those who aren’t science geeks, it is an informative yet highly entertaining read.

The story shifts between three points of view.  Valkerie Jansen is an MD, who hopes to become an astronaut candidate to the NASA program, but fears she might not be accepted if they find out her beliefs. The second POV is that of Bob Kaganovski, flight mechanic, who is attracted to Valkerie until he learns that she is a Christian. He believes that she is there to take his place and begins to distrust her. And the third is that of Nate Harrington, Mars Mission Director, who knows that if the mission of finding life on Mars doesn’t succeed, the Mars program will lose its funding and will be shut down .

After months of training, the Ares 10 four-person crew of Kennedy, Lex, Bob, and Valkerie are ready to launch. Problems with the spacecraft arise following a shaky lift-off, but the astronauts choose to continue the mission. Valkerie has her doubts about continuing the mission, since Kennedy has been acting strangely.  Bob finds a mysterious cylinder that is not supposed to be on the craft. He accidentally sets off an explosion which injures the crew and damages the spacecraft leaving them with a limited oxygen supply.

Believing the origin of the explosion to be sabotage, the crew suspect each other rather than Nate or Josh. Josh, is their ex-crew member who stepped down for Valkerie to take his place. But none of them believe it could be Josh since he is their friend and their lifeline to NASA and home. A plan is formed which can save them, but can they trust each other and NASA?

During the journey, team members raise questions about God. Some members come to a greater understanding of His forgiveness and sacrificial love. I enjoyed seeing God use Valkerie’s gifts; He equipped her for the call He had on her life.

OXYGEN: A Science Fiction Suspense Novel (Book 1), was first printed in 2001 by Bethany House and in 2016 by Enclave Publishing and is available on Kindle. We are recommending it for our upper YA and college-age readers due to some intense scenes.

J. D. Rempel is a graduate of Simpson College. She is working on a middle grade novel and an adult fantasy series. She loves to read and started a library at her church. She enjoys working with her husband in youth ministry.