“On the mantle over the hearth was a collection of ornaments and souvenirs, including a clumsily assembled model on a clear plastic stand: a hot-air balloon with a gondola open to the air, a plastic envelope above. Howard found his favourite toy and set it on the windowsill so it could see the snow too. The golden robot was a complicated thing, despite its antique radio-age appearance. It had been a gift on his eleventh birthday only a couple of months earlier. He knew that it had cost his parents dearly to buy it for him.”
I am a keen reader of Alastair Reynolds, so when I saw that he had collaborated with Stephen Baxter (another of my preferred author’s), I expected to read a book of quality science fiction. I expected a story that would stretch my understanding of the scientific world and take it to places I didn’t know were possible.
The book follows the (very long) life of Howard Falcon and his involvement in the development of the relationship between humans and machines across the universe. The development is not a smooth one and Howard is called upon many times to aid the human ambition.
It is this aid that ensures Howard’s ability to explore new parts of the universe, especially Jupiter, where his yearning continually leads him.
Howard does manage to build a relationship ‘of sorts’ with two people, one a long term colleague and friend, Geoff Webster; the other a medic who cares for him and his body structure. Their passing gives him some distraction, when he allows himself to think of it. He, continues on, alone.
I enjoyed most of the book, there were some bits that were a little incomprehensible to me, so I did my best and read on. These areas of book were minimal (thankfully, for me) and overall I found the book engrossing and engaging.
If you enjoy the likes of Arthur C Clark (for example Rendezvous with Rama), I think you will enjoy this book.
I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.
4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)
Get your copy:
The Medusa Chronicles
Inspired by Sir Arthur C. Clarke’s short story A Meeting with Medusa, this novel, with permission from the Clarke Estate, continues the story of Commander Howard Falcon over centuries of space-exploration, interaction with AI, first contact and beyond. All brought to life by two of our greatest SF authors, Stephen Baxter and Alastair Reynolds.
Howard Falcon almost lost his life in an accident . . . and a combination of human ingenuity and technical expertise brought him back. Not as himself, but as an augmented human: part man, part machine, and exceptionally capable.
The Medusa Chronicles charts his journey through time, the changing interaction between humanity and our universe, and combined moments of incredible action with unparalleled exploration of and expansion into space. A compelling read from the beginning, this is classic SF which has appeal for readers who like Gravity and The Martian