Ancient Heavens by Robert E. Vardeman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC!
As I was reading this, I was beset with a number of problems. The first being that it appeared to be tied to Vardeman's fantasy series, the second being that I was only given this book 3 days to read before it gets archived. So, freaking out, I made a couple of conclusions... the first being that I don't have to read the rest because this appears to be straight terraforming SF with no fantasy involved, and the second being a non-starter because I read fast.
That being said, I plowed through it with quite a bit of enjoyment!
This came out 5 years before Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars, but it shares SOOO MUCH IN COMMON that I was both nostalgic and rather amazed, making me think about all the other SF authors who had done terraforming fiction with so much science and verve and I just couldn't think of any, so now this guy has got my attention.
Vardeman got so much right! :) Of course, he's working with a nearby star system rather than Mars, but that doesn't matter to me. The fact that he focuses on both story and the science is the thing!
Yes, it kinda felt like a Greek tragedy at times and other times it felt like the blurb was going to make it a lot more cheesy by the end than it really was.. and that's another thing! I do NOT like the blurb here for this novel. It cheapens the fact that so much story actually occurs and the world-building is rather impressive if heavy-handed in places.
I'm giving a lot of that a big long pass, because I remember Red Mars doing a lot of the same damn thing and yet BOTH of these belong in the same category and same level of world-building. Granted, Red Mars is clearly the winner, but I am not going to ignore the fact that this was very decent and comes nearly to the same heights as the other, later, novel.
Hats off! Respect!
On a purely story note, however, there's a number of plot holes I wish weren't there, but none of them are so bad as to make me dislike anything as a whole. :)
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