28 August 2015

Proxima by Stephen Baxter

A book review


Stories of human survival and the discovery of new worlds have always fascinated me. Yuri Eden (not his real name) is taken from his base on Mars (ruled by the Chinese government) and set along with hundreds on a ship to colonize the planet Proxima C. The space drama unfolds as the colonists attempt to survive in this new planet and make it their own, as well as back on Earth, where a impending war emerge between the two hemispheres, leading to cataclysm.

The story lines are, for the most part, divided, though linked and converge at the very end. I fail to realize the reason for my love of this kind of structure, but it always gets me. The world building is so detailed that I had to slow down sometimes to be able to picture it all. From the creatures to the fauna and the lakes, the night-less sky of the planet. (That is coming from someone who dreads descriptive writing.) Fortunately there is enough going on through which kept me reading.

“Every door I pass is one way. So I may as well look around, and see what there is beyond the next door, and the next.”
The characters seemed flat at first, but as their story developed I began to grow an affection for them, in a cheering way, and the wish to see them thrive in the unknown. I do not look into the science, it does not have to be real to be entertaining. I truly enjoyed the journey. You know you are reading a good book when you find yourself mumbling or even talking out loud while you read passages which catch you by surprise.

However, there was one part of the book which bothered me. One of the Proxima C natives is manipulated by her mother and those around her, making her go against her own heart, taking her away form her real home. She was supposed to be determined and brave this whole time, and yet here that scene failed. I felt it was rushed in order to get our main hero going, getting rid of them. This character went out of character, and I guess it is one of my reading peeves.

I am curious about what the second book brings with them. I truly loved it and would recommend it to anyone interested in discovery and self preservation as well as the psychology behind what defines us as a human race. There is so much I wish to share about this book, but it would lead up to spoilers, so I will check out here.


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