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Sunday, April 9, 2023

LockstepLockstep by Karl Schroeder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I miss SF like this. It used to be a big thing in the heyday of SF, where the idea and the exploration and extrapolation of an idea is much more important than, say, the fiction in which it is couched, but this kind of thing isn't all that common anymore.

In this case, we have Lockstep. 30 years in hibernation, 1 year awake. This allows all kinds of mining, transit time, robotic world-building, whole civilizations to take a foothold while still locked in normal space-time. It makes people live slowly. Very slowly. It provides a very even playground.

Want to travel to another world? Go to sleep, wake up there. Want to go back? No problem, the people you knew are still roughly the same age as you were when you left. It's a template for a functional interstellar empire.

That's pretty cool. It uses a lot of basic assumptions, of course, but it's a great thought-experiment.

As for the story, itself, we've got a powerful family that have taken over the stewardship, the very concept of Lockstep stemming from them, and the long lost brother -- after 14 thousand years -- has been recovered.

Cue adventure, trying to understand this civilization, intrigue, and huge power plays.

The actual story is of average amusement. I really enjoyed kicking around the options to have different times for Locksteps and political upheaval more than the adventure bits, but that's okay. In my opinion, it's more a novel of ideas than characters.

It's a breath of fresh air when comparing it to the modern deluge of lesser SF ideas couched in neverending characters. A better book would have both, of course, but alas.

Not too bad, all told. I'm going to enjoy trying out this author's other works.

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