The Fifth Man (Oxygen #2)

Reviewed by: Connor Salter, Professional Writing student at Taylor University



Title: The Fifth Man (Oxygen #2)

Author: John B. Olson, Randy Ingermanson

Publisher: Enclave Publishing

Publication Date: 2015 (originally published 2002).

Format: Paperback

Length: 387 pages


After a long, dangerous trip through space, Valkerie Jansen and three other astronauts have reached Mars. The team’s mechanic, Bob Kaganovski, still has feelings for Valkerie and with a mission that brings real danger every day, they’re unsure where to go with that. But that problem quickly takes the backseat when their leader becomes ill and Valkerie starts to think someone, or something, is staying on the Mars base with the team. Something aiming to hurt them and keep them from going home.

Maybe the biggest struggle of writing a sequel is how to give readers what they liked in the previous story while still breaking new ground. Fortunately, Olson and Ingermanson find that balance. The Fifth Man gives that same mix of technical details balanced by humor and intricate plotting balanced with interesting characters that made Oxygen so enjoyable. But the astronaut team’s new location allows for details about a new kind of adventure that shows the dangers of exploring planets as opposed to exploring space. Along the way, problems that weren’t resolved in Oxygen develop in strange, sinister ways.


Rating (1 to 5)

4 out of 5 stars

Suggested Audience

Readers who like psychological thrillers or techno-thrillers, readers who like hard sci-fi or books about planetary and space exploration.

Christian Impact

The characters have various discussions about the evolution versus creationism debate, spiritual doubts, forgiveness, and the ethics of allowing people to die for the greater good.

Other Notes

Some readers may be put off by psychological thriller elements, including a mentally ill character unsuccessfully trying to attack a female character.


Interested in reviewing a book, movie, album, or other type of media for our website? We would love to hear from you! Find out more about how to submit media reviews.

The Fifth Man: A Science Fiction Suspense Novel (Oxygen Series Book 2)

About Ceil Carey

The Evangelical Church Library Association, founded in 1970, is a fellowship of Christian churches, schools, and individuals.

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: