Thursday, 25 September 2014

Dark Eden by Chris Beckett

Imagine being stranded light years from Earth. The planet you're on has no natural sunlight, the flora and fauna have evolved to provide their own light.  You know that you'll be missed and that someone from earth will come to rescue you, right? Wrong. This is the setting of this wonderfully thoughtful novel.

The descendants of our stranded space travellers have built up a society based around the idea that earth is coming to their rescue. But after over a hundred and fifty years is that really going to happen? John, a rebel with big ideas of change, knows that it's a stagnant society doomed to ultimate failure unless changes and progress are made. But who will listen to a pubescent troublemaker like John?

Apart from being an intimately recounted sci-fi tale Dark Eden is about rebellion, stagnation and the innate evils caused by the jealousy and pride we all harbour within ourselves.

I read this on my kindle and it felt a tad long winded but I was fascinated by the sociological aspects of their captive little universe. Ultimately, I found that I enjoyed the journey the author took me on. The first person perspective helped the reader to feel the aching sadness of their situation. An open-ended conclusion that could well mean a sequel. I'd say with the right media attention this intelligent novel could well become a classic. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Elite: Mostly Harmless by Kate Russell

I remember the original Elite, which I played endlessly on my ZX Spectrum, my imagination roaming alongside the vector graphics into far away galaxies.  So not only was I delighted to hear of the games latest incarnation, I was intrigued to see there was a whole series of novels set in the Elite universe.

Elite: Mostly Harmless was something of a lighthearted read for me but what an enjoyable novel it was. It reminded me of Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel rat series. There was action and adventure enough to appeal to younger readers and adult humour for older readers. Kate did a great job bringing the setting to life, the characters were well drawn and the plot was pacy, exciting and always interesting.  A five star read that will appeal to gamers and sci-fi fans alike. The space opera is reborn.