Nice weave of speculative fiction, alternate history, character development, and creative ideas.
Apr 30, 2009
"Century Rain" is not my typical cup of science fiction tea. I usually prefer to read science fiction with more factual information and scientific literature ("Red Mars," for example). However, I enjoyed this story with its large scope of scientific revelations (although weakly portrayed) and well presented story and timeline.
Reynolds has crafted a story that takes place in two different Earths; actually, one Earth and one near-Earth orbit. There are quite a few science fiction aspects that some readers will dig - like pseudo-worm holes, nano-robot infested people, weapons of mass destruction, and crazy-huge space objects. There are many creative ideas in this book; however, many times the author does not provide any scientific support (which is fine) but rather presents these interesting ideas and then the knowledgeable characters say something along the lines of: "well, we don't really know what we are doing; we don't fully understand the technology." Of course, it isn't possible for Reynolds to be able to scientifically explain pseudo-worm holes.
I found this book hard to start because I had a hard time "buying" some of the concepts in the book. The back cover of the book was also not completely accurate; but, it was close enough I suppose. I thought some of the ideas thrown in were a bit random, but interesting; like, the potential advertisements in the pseudo-worm holes. This was interesting because the characters did not know what these random things in the worm hole were, but were speculating on the origins and meanings while in the many scientific dialogues to explain to the reader what science is going on. This book has many sequences that consist of a few characters talking and explaining (to catch the reader up) ideas or history when they might not actually be taking the time to do so in real life (i.e. "our ship is crashing, but take some time to explain what so-and-so is, please."). There are also many questions left unanswered that I wanted to know about. Some of these things may be trivial, but they did play some significance in the storyline.
To wrap-up, this is not hard-core science fiction but rather a nice blend of alternate history, science fiction, political fights, and post-apocalyptic survival. I thought it was worth the time and the energy.