Just the kind of SF I love.
Totally plausible characters, believable storyline, and genuine, edge of the seat action.
No rule breaking either. No warp engines or FTL communication. It's all done the slow way. Sub-luminal.
I love this man's work.
(Apart from House of Suns)
Not as depressing as "Flood", but then neither is actually being depressed.
I'm a big fan of Stephen Baxter's, but my over-riding memory of this experience is the terrible narration. It is possible to narrate a novel without acting the parts. In this case, it would be preferable. The accents were dire, and really spoiled my enjoyment of this pair of books.
As for the actual story, I enjoyed it. The exploration of the social problems of small groups stuck together was interesting. Loved the physics, and the realistic attempt at warp travel.
If you're american, buy it and enjoy it. From the UK? Buyer beware.
I've been a fan of Baxter's for years now, and this does revisit an apocalyptic theme he's touched on before with "Moonseed".
One of the few writers who recognises the human capacity to fail to appreciate the long game, whilst struggling for day to day survival.
I did enjoy the story, it's well written and thorough, if a little depressing.
My only criticism is of the narration.
Chis Patton has clearly tried very hard to portray regional British accents, but his failure to properly capture the nuance of our understated culture and use of language, made the characters seem whiney and miserable, rather than stoic and businesslike.
Buy it if you're not from the old country.
Not bad really, but the concept of the world being saved by amongst others, a think tank of science fiction writers, is too implausible for hard SF. (Not to mention conceited.). I think Niven is overrated on this account.
There were plenty of gaps in the physics, and the aliens were so stupid, it beggars belief that they'd be able to make the journey, but i did love seeing Project Orion brought back to life.
Much has been made of the irritating alien voices, but I think it's fair to blame Niven for this, in fact, I found this part of the story to be confusing and too ridiculous to be enjoyable.
I think SF has really moved on from this era, and I personally enjoy a better written novel. Try Iain M Banks if you like guns and overwhelmingly powerful starships, or Stephen Baxter, if you know anything about physics.
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