Thank you to NetGalley and Orion Publishing Group for accepting me for this ARC!
I came at this novel at a bit of a disadvantage. I haven’t read Meetings with Medusa or any of Arthur C. Clarke’s work (it’s something I’m hoping to remedy soon). However, although it was a bit of an overload of information at the beginning, it quickly didn’t matter and I fell into the wonderful, political and fantastical world of Howard Falcon, half human, half cyborg.
‘Well – what is existence but an endless, ultimately futile delaying of the inevitable?’
What I really loved was the breadth of this novel. Although the time jumps were a bit confusing at the start, we get to see the impact of human space travel and the extent to which we go to to war. Interlinked with a 1969 space story that shows the beginning human space exploration, the sheer amount of action and development we get pushes this book to epic and fantastical proportions.
Using Howard Falcon as the narrator really allowed a more objective and different view to what typically could have been a human-focused story. Instead, the half human half cyborg serves as a third party by which to explore the wider solar system and the political landscape. I really liked him as a character, and the way he was linked to all aspects of the narrative made him a great central character.
I admit, I don’t go often go for such ‘other-worldly’ sci-fi, with the presence of Martians, ‘simps’, and the Machines. But Baxter and Reynolds create a wonderful political landscape that questions the impact of technological advances, robot autonomy and the lengths humans will go to save the race. At times I felt like it lagged slightly, and it did take me longer to read than usual, but it didn’t put me off.
I have Baxter’s The Long Earth on my bookshelves somewhere, which I will undoubtedly read some point soon. But if you like a political story combined with the effects of human interplanetary space travel, this book is definitely for you.
WHAT I LOVED: the politics, the idea of a wider political landscape in the solar system
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE: jumps were confusing, slow in some places