Voyage by Stephen Baxter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
There is a very specific genre of SF I don't see much of anymore: the type that couches itself very firmly in real science history (in this case the NASA program) and then launches itself into big What-If territory.
I've seen this particular concept done many times, actually, and even most recently with the Daniel Suarez novels or even in the tv show For All Mankind.
I think it's a great thing. We need to have more entertaining renditions of history AND ask those questions such as What would it have been like to travel to Mars or Venus, reliant on slight or even major differences in our political history?
The fact that so much happened in the '80s, so much more than shuttle stuff, was a real joy to think about.
Space stuff now just makes me think about all the wasted opportunities and wasted brainpower and the fact that so much of our current deficits of imagination can directly be laid at the feet of short-sighted politicians with disingenuous arguments. I think of this one a lot: "All that money could go to the poor and hungry." Where in reality, all that "saved" money STILL never got the poor or hungry.
It should be enough to make everyone outraged. A great pull-together on a massive project like space could have lifted everyone up. Not just for morale, but in wealth as well. People would have been working toward an awesome goal.
These novels in particular should be an object lesson on wasted opportunity. Alas.
View all my reviews