A Gigantic Leap: First Contact by David Brown
“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
— Neil Armstrong
Those are the words that came to mind upon reading David Brown’s debut sci-fi novel, A Gigantic Leap: First Contact. Like these iconic words, Brown’s novel evokes feelings of exhilaration and empowerment as humanity takes a monumental step toward the future. And it’s especially fitting, given Brown’s own role as a NASA engineer on the Apollo Program.
We’ve gotten the chance to talk to Brown about his new science fiction novel, how his time at NASA influenced his world-building and how much humans have “to learn from these aliens!”
Q: It’s no easy feat crafting such a broad, immersive story entirely from your own imagination. How did you go about creating the world of A Gigantic Leap: First Contact?
A: After spending several years trying to determine the average age of the planets in our galaxy, I realized that there were perhaps a million or more that are billions of years older than Earth.
This would mean that, if there were intelligent life observing us, they might be shocked to see how human life inevitably resorts to violence to settle disputes large and small. So this is the premise I based the book upon.
Q: How did your previous experience as a NASA engineer influence the sci-fi world you created? When did you choose to go with scientific accuracy, and when did you decide to lean into the fiction side of science fiction?
A: During my time at NASA we landed man on the moon. This led to further and deeper travel into our solar system, wherein we were scientifically able to send selective and numerous messages out. Inevitably, these signals would reach intelligent life. This progress influenced me to create the story around the possibility of contact.
Q: You grapple with several real-world issues that plague our planet, everything from climate change to war and intolerance. What was it like incorporating these topics into a sci-fi story?
A: It was frightening. Our world is becoming a more and more dangerous place. With Corporate greed, Climate change, political shenanigans and terrible wars and violence everywhere, I felt compelled to use this material.
Q: Readers have praised your cast of characters for their distinctive personalities and growth through the narrative. How did you go about developing such a broad cast of characters?
A: When one considers possible contact from advanced species, I needed characters from all walks of life, including alien species. I wanted my story to be populated with sympathetic, well-rounded characters, with quite different viewpoints toward the alien conundrum. Like many authors, I found the characters developing themselves as I went along.
Q: What do you hope readers take away from First Contact?
A: My main hope is that readers of A Gigantic Leap, Book One, and those books in the series that follow, might recognize the very real danger violence poses to life on Earth and help defeat the threat.
Q: What should readers be looking forward to when it comes to book 2?
A: One thing is that Book 2 will be based for the most part on the planet Yxria, which is the most amazing, incredible place! Billions of years older than Earth, their technology is mind-blowing! These aliens have arrived at their goal of “Maximum Happiness” with telepathic communications, beautiful relationships and so much more! Humans have much to learn from these aliens!
About David Brown:
As a NASA engineer, David Brown designed the landing gear on the Apollo Lunar Landing Module for America’s first mission to the Moon. An author of several books on investing, and Founder of Sabrient Systems, David serves on the Director’s Council at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
David served both as Chairman of the U.S. Science and Technology Commission, and Chairman of the New Millennium Committee of the Planetary Society. An avid avian enthusiast, his garden is filled with over two dozen bird feeders, each dedicated to a specific species, that brings him joy every time he looks out his window.
Publish Date: 4/12/2023
Genre: Science Fiction
Author: David Brown
Page Count: 405 pages
Publisher: Tree House