Sunday, October 27, 2013

New Earth

Book Review

New Earth by Ben Bova.

I used to read science fiction quite often. And I liked it.

And during that time, I found my all around, favorite author, Lois McMaster Bujold. She was writing science fiction.

And before I knew it, I had read everything she had written to date. Then, I had to look for other authors.

But after reading her, I couldn't find any science fiction that I liked as much. Not as much as Bujold.

Not Asimov. Not Clarke. Not Brin. Not Herbert. Not Heinlein. Not Le Guin. Not Card. Not Bradbury. Not Robinson. Not McCaffrey.

And so I had to start reading other things. Other authors. Other genres.

It has been a long time since I have read much scifi. But I recently saw this book on the shelf of new releases.

And then I realized that I had never read any Bova. Well, it was time to fix that.

New Earth

Since I had never read any Bova before (how did that ever happen?!), I had no knowledge of his writing style or his style of scifi. I was just going to find out through the reading.

This is a story of a starship crew that has traveled a number of years in stasis, arriving safely at their planned destination. Immediately upon waking, they discover unexpected things. Big, unexpected things. Both on the home front and at their new location. 

And when things are not as expected, as any good scifi story goes, they must investigate. Which they do.

They find life. Intelligent life. Intelligent human life.

Who are they? Where did they come from? How long have they been there? Why haven't they been detected before this? Why are they there?

This is staid, tried-and-true science fiction. Not quite dry, but nothing truly inventive or out of the box. 

Definitely in-the-box scifi. 

This was, for the most part, an enjoyable story. But not quite an exciting story.

There was only one point at which I was dumbstruck by a description of old school technology. A flip phone that does so much more than make calls.

Really? This book is a new release. Published this year. And we are still mentioning flip phones and describing capabilities of handheld devices? I would have expected that we are well past that. At least, well past the explicit description of such capabilities in such devices.

Otherwise, the book is good. The writing is clean and unadorned. The story is rather unadorned. Clean, pure, no-frills science fiction. Feels old school, and maybe it is.

If you enjoy good, pure, clean science fiction, you might just like this. If you are looking for swashbuckling scifi adventure, you are better off finding some Bujold.

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