**** If only he had dared more
With this book, I discovered another interesting British science fiction author, Alastair Reynolds. And what a find! He, like Hamilton, embodies my perfect author of such books as his novels fall under the space opera but rich of almost plausible technology, talk about the future of humanity, are pretty long and complex, but also really imaginative. Oh yes, because Reynolds has really a fantasy out of the ordinary. Not everyone can conceive of a story like that of “Century Rain”.
I'll try to define the main points of the plot without spoiling it.
“Century Rain” is set in a future where Earth has been destroyed by nanotechnology. On scary nanotechnology I had recently read "Prey" by Crichton, however, the main theme here is something else. I do not like at all post-apocalyptic stories, but the so-called nanocaust spoken of in this book is just a detail of the plot and defines the environment in which the story moves.
Human survivors live in space stations orbiting the planet. Among them is the main female character, Verity Auger, an archaeologist expert in
, which is now just a ghost town.
Auger is involved in a very special mission. On Phobos (one of the satellites
of Mars) a wormhole was discovered that connects two distant parts of the
galaxy. At the other end they found a huge sphere, inside which is a
"functioning" replica of Earth, as it was in 1959. An alien species
(undefined) has created many replicas of our planet, including this one that
you can access. But the timeline in which these humans live in ignorance is a
bit different from that of the true twentieth century. Paris
These are the premises. The story is located somewhere between space opera, hard sci-fi, thriller, espionage and time travel, although you do not really travel in time. The way in which it is built is really intriguing, with well-defined characters. The book is very long, because so many things happen, which are difficult to predict, and this makes it very entertaining.
Yet even in this case, I stopped at four stars. The reason is simple: in the end the author, in my opinion, did not play his cards right. Being British, I would have expected something outside the box and instead Reynolds seems to have lost himself in the thick of it. Apart from the fact that the love story between the protagonists develops too abruptly and is not at all credible, perhaps because of that a bit too cold, but above all unnatural, look given to the female protagonist by the author (as it often happens when a male author moves a female protagonist), and then that story ends just as suddenly. Even if its end could be explained by a too fast start, two inconsistencies put together, however, do not generate a realistic event, but instead make things worse. For if you forgive the first one, you cannot do the same for the second one.
But the worst is right at the end. In this regard, suffice it to say that the characters, after all they've been through, find themselves exactly to the starting point. She seems to have learned nothing. He grew up, instead, but in fact he finds himself again in the condition in which he “lived” at the beginning of the story. Despite the beautiful prose and the poetic image of the last scene, I was disappointed. An author of this kind, capable of conceiving a story like that, should be more daring.
As a justification for the author I must, however, say that the ending is left quite open, allowing readers to imagine how it could continue, perhaps with a better ending.
Despite all this, then, I highly recommend reading this book to science fiction lovers who at the same time do not disdain some vintage vibe.
Century Rain on Amazon.com.