Paradise-1 by David Wellington

The basics

Title: Paradise-1


Series: Red Space #1

- Paradise-1 (2023)

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Goodreads Summary:

When Special Agent Petrov and Dr. Lei Zhang are woken up from cryogenic sleep, dragged freezing and dripping wet out of their pods with the ship's alarms blaring in the background, they know something is very wrong. Warned by the Captain that they're under attack, they have no choice but to investigate.

It doesn't take much time to learn that they've been met by another vessel—a vessel from Paradis-One, Earth's first deep-space colony, and their final destination.

Worse still, the vessel is empty. And it carries with it the message that all communications from the 150,000 souls inhabiting the Paradis-One has completely ceased.

Petrov and Zhang must board the empty ship and delve further into deep space to discover the truth of the colony's disappearance—but the further they go, the more dangers loom.

Here is a spoiler summary of what happened in Paradise-1 by David Wellington to help refresh your memory before you read the sequel. If you need help remembering what happened in Paradise-1 then you’re in the right place.

What happened in Paradise-1?

  • Alexandra Petrova is working on Ganymede, one of Jupiter’s moons, for an agency called Firewatch. Alexandra’s mother, Ekaterina, used to be the director of Firewatch until she retired.
  • Petrova is looking for a guy called Jason Schmidt who is apparently the worst serial killer in the century-long history of Ganymede’s colony.
  • Petrova finds Jason. She waits for permission to arrest him but is denied. She ignores this order and goes to arrest him. She enters an underground cave system where she finds Jason along with a bunch of other people. These people may be the missing people that everyone thought Jason had killed. The people are all acting slightly strange and out of it.
  • Jason attacks Petrova, but thankfully someone at Firewatch unlocks her weapon and she is able to defend herself. Firewatch come and shut the whole thing down but don’t tell Petrova what has been going on there.
  • Petrova doesn’t get on with the new head of Firewatch. Because Petrova didn’t follow her orders, she is sent to Paradise-1, which is a planet where people are starting a colony. Her own mother has gone there to retire. Petrova is asked to go to the planet and check in with everyone.
  • Alexandra boards a ship called Artemis. Its captain is called Sam Parker, who has a romantic history with Petrova, and there is also a medic called Zhang. Zhang had something traumatic happened to him in the past, and so he has a kind of robot thing on his arm which gives him drugs if he starts to stress or panic. 
  • The human members of the crew go into cryosleep. The Artemis is run by the Al and a robot called Rapscallion. They set off for Paradise-1, a journey which will take about three months.
  • When the Artemis reaches Paradise-1 it is unable to land. The Al goes into shutdown. Thankfully the humans wake up once the ship starts to get attacked. 
  • Zhang gets into a spacesuit and he is forced to head outside. He very quickly rung out of oxygen. Petrova manages to get to him in time, and his robot gives him life support. 
  • Petrova, Zhang, and Rapscallion all reach the bridge where Parker is waiting for them. Sam explains that the AI is shutting itself down and restarting over and over again. The AI has created a hologram of dark woods.
  • Rapscallion notices that there are hundreds of other ships outside. It seems that these ships were all trying to reach Paradise-1 but weren’t able to. 
  • The group realised that another ship called the Persephone is throwing crates of yams at them and this is what caused the destruction. They need to figure out how to stop this ship, and so they end up shooting at its weapons so it can no longer attack them. 
  • The group realised that they’re going to have to head over to the Persephone to see what’s going on over there. Someone from the Persephone sends a message to Petrova, telling her to come and talk. They use a nickname that only Petrova’s mother should use. Petrova and Zhang put on space suits and travel over to the Persephone. 
  • When Petrova and Zhang reach the Persephone, they find that its citizens are basically zombies. Everyone is trying to eat each other, and also eating bits out of their own bodies… which is really gross. Petrova meets the ship’s Al, which is called Eurydice. 
  • Eurydice infects Petrova with something which makes Petrova really hungry. Eurydice wants Petrova to stay on board with it and be the new captain.
  • Zhang reveals that a similar thing happened to him on his colony and that’s when his partner died, along with all of the other humans there. Zhang thinks he has a cure for this disease so he starts trying to cure Petrova. 
  • Zhang calls the alien virus a “parasitic idea”, and while it’s very similar to what happened on Zhang’s colony it has different symptoms. On Zhang’s colony it made people unable to breathe whereas here it’s turning people into zombies because of the hunger. 
  • Petrova is cured, but she is captured by Eurydice. Zhang manages to get back to the Artemis and tells the others what’s going on. The group go and rescue Petrova. 
  • Unfortunately they aren’t able to reach Petrova before her hand gets mangled when the ship literally tries to eat her.
  • Rapscallion tells the humans that the Artemis AI’s core is way too big and it seems to be military grade. This is really strange because it’s not meant to be that kind of mission. 
  • The crew manage to break the Al’s restarting cycle, and then Parker suddenly disappears. 
  • It turns out that Sam Parker died in the first yam attack, and since then they’ve all been talking to a hologram. 
  • Petrova is very upset by this. She definitely still had feelings for him, but now he is dead. 
  • Rapscallion organises a funeral for Parker. Petrova and Zhang arrived late, but they do get there eventually. They all mourn Parker together. 
  • At this point two ships are heading towards the Artemis. One is an identical twin ship to Artemis, and the second is a massive warship which is a tiny bit slower than the first.
  • When the smaller ship reaches them, Petrova, Zhang, and Rapscallion board it. They speak to the ship’s Al, and they find that it has been infected as well. The doctor of this ship has started performing surgery on the crew and also on himself to try to find the infection, and so Zhang is unfortunately forced to put the doctor out of his misery. 
  • The crew takeover this second ship, which isn’t as damaged as theirs. They’re able to bring the Artemis’ Al with them. 
  • Petrova tells the others that the AI have been speaking like her mother and possibly using her memories somehow. 
  • The warship continues to approach, and so the team turn off all of the lights on their ship to pretend no one is home. The warship destroys the Artemis, and then it starts to go after the Persephone.
  • Petrova decides to try land on Paradise-1, because obviously something doesn’t want them to get there. As they approach, all of the other ships start to intercept and there is basically a space naval battle with ships flinging things (and themselves) at them to try to destroy them.
  • Zhang and Petrova are forced onto a lifepod while Rapscallion and tries to fix the now damaged ship. 
  • Parker’s hologram comes back and he helps Rapscallion to try to fix the ship.
  • Zhang and Petrova reached a colony ship. Here they find Petrova’s mother, Ekaterina, as well as a bunch of other humans who are currently living in darkness because the virus or parasite has made them afraid of the light. 
  • The other people offer to let Zhang and Petrova live with them. 
  • Zhang and Petrova try to find some privacy so that they can talk because this is all very weird. They are found out by Petrova’s mother. We learn that when Petrova was younger her first boyfriend hooked up with her mother, which is very gross, and so that’s why they don’t really get along. As well as Petrova’s mother being absolutely awful and very abusive. 
  • While all this is going on Rapscallion and Parker are trying to take out all of the other ships so they are no longer a danger to them. 
  • It turns out that the parasite has gotten into Ekaterina’s mind. To be fair, she did allow it to happen because she thought that she could control it, but that was a very bad idea. 
  • The alien parasite starts talking to Petrova. It wants to take over her mind instead instead of Ekaterina’s. The parasite says Petrova can have paradise if this is allowed. 
  • Rapscallion and Parker arrive on board and they try to stop it from taking over Petrova’s brain, but in the end Petrova allows it.
  • Ekaterina dies. 
  • Petrova tells the team they can all go down to the planet, finally. They make it down there and find the remains of a colony with all of the buildings intact, but they can’t find anyone there.
  • The book ends with Zhang screaming.

That’s what happened in Paradise-1! Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!

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