January 25, 2006
Permanence by Karl Schroeder
Permanence refers to the idea of building a civilization that could essentially support itself over vast periods of time, billions of years. A concept some have referred to as `deep time'. In this novel, it gives rise to a cult, whose efforts are directed towards this goal.
The universe in which the plot unfolds is the main attraction. Karl Schroeder has clearly put in a lot of effort to make a plausible and consistent future history in the great traditions of early sf authors such as Arthur C. Clarke. The basic idea is embellished with many scientific details on the author's website (which is what induced me to read the novel in the first place). The discovery of multitudes of brown dwarf stars littered throughout the universe finally made the promise of the expansion of humanity into the void. While previously the distances between stars without the possibility of faster than light travel meant that there could not be any coherent contact between them to maintain any kind of society, the existence of previously unseen and substantial numbers of brown dwarf stars with their own planets orbiting them meant that such a society was now possible. "Permanence" begins with such a society already extant and threatened with extinction after the new discovery of faster than light travel possible only between large masses such as the lit stars.
The plot is not particularly original, the now classic sf tale, the coming of age `young-adult' storyline made famous by Heinlein. Published not soon after his debut novel, "Ventus", Karl Schroeder has produced yet another impressive sf novel, although clearly not as accomplished as his previous effort. There are some great inventive ideas throughout the book, but the characters are not treated with the same care and many aspects seem rushed to completion.
%T Permanence %A Karl Schroeder %I Tor Books %P 447 %D 2002 %G ISBN: 076530371X %K science-fiction
Review written: 2003/01/06Posted by anoop at January 25, 2006 01:35 AM