Where to read Heart of the Comet by David Brin (Goodreads Author) buy amazon bookstore download epub

Where to read Heart of the Comet by David Brin (Goodreads Author) buy amazon bookstore download epub

Where to read Heart of the Comet by David Brin (Goodreads Author) buy amazon bookstore download epub

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Book description
How hard is it to marry good science and good fiction? Hard enough judging by the regular sc-fi novels coming out like dandelion seeds. Perhaps you have to go all the way back to 1985 to get at the goods. At least thats what one scientist suggested when I saw his list of best sci-fi books on a blog recently. From the other suggestions by other scientists it was pretty easy to conclude they dont read a lot of any kind of fiction; Dune featured a lot. Jules Verne, H.G. Welles, etc. etc. Sounds like stuff they read when they were 15 before they gave up reading fiction for writing treatises. But this scientist-guy recommended The Heart of the Comet, a book I had never heard of by two authors I knew vaguely were respected in the genre, but had never read. The cover was as luridly off-putting as one might expect. Large silvery 3D letters in the Richard Donner Superman mode, flying through a region of space looking distinctly icky, like an oil spill. However, between the covers....Written to cash in on the excitement of Halleys 1986 visit, it tells the story of the NEXT Halley fly-by, in 2061(all dates approximated from what I can remember), when a team of 400 men and women try to colonize the comet for the duration of its next orbit, returning around 2033. To do this there are nearly insurmountable technical obstacles to overcome, not least of which is the freezing hibernation of good portions of the crew, so that their lives will span the duration of the orbit. Not much is made of the fact that all these people must necessarily be sociopaths, because to undertake such a journey means consigning family and friends to die of old age before your return, but predictably, factions form, tribes are established and eventually war breaks out for hegemony. This is exacerbated by the presence of so-called Purcells, genetically engineered uber-people named for their creator on Earth, where already they are becoming fast ostracized by the Orthos, ie; regular folk.We follow the interior lives of three people: Saul, a Jewish ortho scientist whose work in genetics proves crucial to everyones survival, Virginia, An Hawain Purcell and computer-whiz, who hopes to explore the limits of machine intelligence on the long trip, and Carl, a Purcell who is basically Mr Fix-it in space, who becomes the defacto leader, when the real leader croaks from one of the many diseases the Orthos contract as they come into contact with alien microbes. Theres a complicated love-triangle here to, but to me that was the Metro Goldwyn Mayonnaise that sci-fi writers seem to feel their books need in order to be zesty for the common palette. And it goes on for the entire book, too. Thats 80 years of not talking about it.And, of course, theres indigenous life! Starting as nasty sludge that block the vents (what else?) it quickly mutates as its microbes mix with those of the humans. At the outset of the story its like any other creatures-in-a-confined space trope, with battles and grizzly deaths, but as time progresses a symbiotic relationship occurs whereby some humans become what is essentially a new species, able to adapt and survive in the harsh environment. Here the book soars in its plausible explanations of evolutionary selection, genes, and, thanks to Sauls expertise, cloning. Strange hybrid creatures begin to emerge thanks to Sauls discoveries, and also to information sent to him surreptitiously from Earth. Why so sneaky? Through all this the realtionship with the distant Earth becomes more strained. The fear back home is that the Comet has become a kind of Typhoid Mary, its return heralding a frightening mix of alien microbes with domestic ones, upsetting the balance the book asserts is really a chimera. (Shades of the microbes in War of the Worlds). To this end they continually try to destroy the comet, which in turn exacerbates the factionalism already rife there. Finally, deep in the center of the comet, Saul makes an extraordinary find, with huge implications for them, their future, and the history of Earth itself (boy, that last sentence sounded like the book flap).Good stuff: zero G shenanigans, always a thrill for me as it is ignored by most sci-fi movies for reasons of budget; mind-bending science and tech within the realms of the strictly possible; good characterization, or at least good enough (this isnt Henry James in space); plausibility quotent = high.Bad stuff: Aforementioned love triangle (get OVER it, people); a lack of imagination, perhaps, in how people would actually behave and communicate. It didnt FEEL true in some places, at least for me; a discussion of the kind of phycological toll such a mission would extract seemed absent.Overall: it wasnt until I looked at the publication date that I realized this was written over 20 years ago. Nothing feels dated, except perhaps the optimism we were all capable of them. Now, the idea of such a mission seems quaint, and if a book were written about it, it would just be a bunch of f**ing zombies.
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