Food is an important part of the life of most people, besides providing basic sustenance, food plays an important role in social gatherings, religious ceremonies, and cultural identity. It can be even more important when you are part of a group abducted by aliens, which is what happens to a group of five humans from Detroit in Rajani Chronicles I: Stone Soldiers.
The main protagonist, James Dempsey, is a police lieutenant and sworn bachelor. His idea of an extravagant meal is having potato salad with his hamburger instead of fries (though sometimes he’ll have both). Yvette Manidoo has a more refined taste. She’s happy with freshly made organic meals and a glass of white wine. Gianni Moretti yearns for authentic New York pizza and can’t handle the Detroit version, with its too-thick crust. David Morris would eat at Burger King every night if it wasn’t for his girlfriend dragging him to other places. Finally, Kieren Gray is happy with a simple meal of falafel, hummus, and pita bread.
It all changes when they’re brought aboard the alien spaceship and wake up light years from home. Fortunately, the aliens in question were smart enough to bring fruits and vegetables from Earth to lessen the impact on their unwilling guests. The five humans find that their evening meal together is the only thing holding them together. All five are, to some extent, introverts who find it difficult to make friends, and without a common mealtime, they would spend the voyage isolated in their rooms aboard the ship, eating the fiberboard-like protein bars provided by their hosts. The feeling of isolation is a theme that runs throughout this first novel in the trilogy.
The aliens introduce them to a drink they call fernta, which is distilled from a fruit grown on their planet. This harsh liquor is a hit with David, who is the first to reach out in friendship to one of the aliens, finding that they although different in appearance, have many of the same feelings, worries, and aspirations as their human guests.
Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Brian!
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