Noumenon Infinity by Marina J. Lostetter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is one hell of a great sequel.
It goes well beyond the fandom who like generational starship stories, delving into high physics, Big Dumb Objects, and very strange aliens.
But more importantly, the stranger aliens are ourselves. Generations of clones growing up and educated in a closed society, fixing the original generational starship problem by going as a fleet of semi-specialized components in one big social whole. That's not so strange, of course, but the emergent AI and the "retirees" of every clone over 65 to become a part of a massive biological computer system as dreamers *is*. :)
But the core story is no slouch, either. The fleet splits in two. One to finish a truly glorious Dyson-sphere-like project and the other devoted to exploration and learning about the aliens who made it. Of course, from there, everything goes to hell. But differently. :) This is not the same kind of novel as the first, but it IS a genuine continuation in both spirit and characters. :)
I especially loved the aliens. I may have a few spoilerly quibbles about the end. One particularly big plot thread that wasn't concluded. But other than these, which could EASILY be addressed in future books, I absolutely adore this book. Or rather, books.
Few modern SF novels are this devoted to ideas anymore. That is: pure ideas drilled down to consequences and snags and complications.
The writing is more than fine, the characters are fascinating, but it's the ideas make this a true inheritor of old-school SF. Everything from psychology to sociology to genetics to high physics is explored here, and that's just the foundation. :)
I'm a fanboy now. :)
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