Welcome to our first Featured Review! In this series, we’ll be highlighting book reviews from the S&L audience. If you want to submit a review, please check out the guidelines here! -Veronica
I dig the basis of this book. A generational spaceship has been exploring so long that it’s forgotten its purpose (coughing-allegory). They find a planet that has evidence of horrible stuff that happened to the planet’s inhabitants. The explorers quickly depart only to discover an enormous alien spaceship adrift. Next, they explore the alien spaceship and discover, wait for it, wait for it, horrible stuff that happened to what appears to be humans that mirror what they found on the planet.
Richard Paul Russo writes a slow burning SF thriller that ultimately fizzles. If you read this anticipating the end justifying your reading, disappointment lies ahead. But if you read this for the experience, then I think you can find happiness or at least some measure of satisfaction.
No spoilers, but my favorite character is the coffee-growing dwarf who occasionally drinks too much of his homebrewed whiskey.
I was underwhelmed with the whole theological dilemma that’s hoisted and hung on the hook. Is there a God? If there’s a God, why do bad things happen? Oh, they happen because we have freewill? Oh, we have freewill, and God feels guilty because he gave it to us?
There’s nothing wrong in asking these questions or writing a story about them. I’m grousing because for as much as these issues were intended to drive the narrative, they’re never satisfyingly resolved. In the end, they act as more of a distraction (allegorically ironic?) and less centrally relevant. I just wish Russo had been subtler and allowed the reader to make more of the connections rather than painting such a vivid theological landscape.
As previously mentioned, the book’s conclusion is a bit flat. But the best part, my favorite part, was when they were exploring the enormous alien ship. So good, why didn’t we get more of this? I could have been as happy as a clam at high tide to be shown more of those endless passages and odd little rooms with their secrets.