The amount of space outside our solar system is nearly unfathomable. When you think about the fastest traveling spacecraft humanity has ever built travels at 50,000km/hr (meaning it could travel from New York to Los Angeles in less than four minutes) would still take over 9,000 years to reach the nearest star besides our own it is almost incomprehensible as to how vast our galaxy alone is.
With that scope in mind, Reynolds has crafted a mind blowing story in shear scope of ideas, distance, and time as we follow cloned versions of one woman (shatterlings) who travel around the galaxy gaining knowledge and experience to download the collective information every 200,000 years. What happens after nearly the entire line of clones is ambushed and destroyed is part mystery, part space opera, and part hard science fiction on the epic level that surpasses any work of science fiction in recent memory.
The epic scope of this book is mind boggling as two of the shatterlings are late to the 200,000 year reunion by over ten thousand years to arrive sometime after the ambush leaving most all of their counterparts dead. As a reader, it is impressive that these shatterlings have such a scope of time understanding as most humans can barely wait fifteen minutes for a cup of coffee. What happens next is a journey through massive amounts of space and impressive durations of time (tens of thousands of years). Wrapping your head around the lifespan of these creatures is a feat in and of itself, but Reynolds pushes the plot with a skill that is beyond impressive, never losing the reader in a vision of time and space that is nearly impossible to comprehend.
Reynolds has a knack for pushing the envelope in vision of space travel while never escaping from plausible scenarios and technology. The characters are compassionate, the situations are believable, and the mystery is engaging. This is one science fiction book that should not be missed by any member of the science fiction fan base. Even more impressive is the way Reynolds writes that engages the reader with hard science fiction and technology that might easily be overly described or too detailed. Every bit of this story is plausible (at least several epochs from now) and if this is a vision of the future I can only hope to be around to see some of Reynolds vision.
Highly recommended in every sense.
Plants and Books
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