Read Review

Disappointing "sequel"
This book, which is based on a very short story by Arthur C Clarke, a science fiction master, took two authors to do in +500 pages what Clarke could have done better. Clarke was creative.

I have been an avid scifi reader for +50 years. In preparation for reading this book, I reread the short story which this book tries to exploit. The contrast was enormous.

Clarke knew when to stop explaining in detail the background of a story and and/or how to make the situations interesting. That is speculative fiction. When there wasn't sufficient meat in the setting, to make his protagonists characters which whom readers could empathize, he continued to write a book, otherwise he left it as a short story.

This book does neither. It beats a dead horse, telling essentially the same story over and over with little character development.

It joins the growing ranks of stories generated by teaming a good author with a research assistant/page filler, and in this case the good author with insight and genuine inspiration is missing.

There are very few good hard science fiction authors, compared to those who know how to write good fantasy. Fantasy can pose any setting for its characters and concentrate on creating within that setting an intersting problem and characters. Hard science fiction takes what we know today, extrapolates slightly and reasonably from that, and uses that setting to tell a story.

In either case, a good writer makes the story interesting, the characters and/or their goals interesting and relatable. A great author does all of these, things.

It's commendable that Benford attempted to do this. It's too bad that his team failed.

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