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Dr. Henry Gee is senior editor at the renowned science journal Nature and editor of the award-winning Nature Futures science fiction short story series. He has written over a dozen books, including The Science of Middle Earth and A Field Guide to Dinosaurs.
I think I've been waiting for a sci-fi book like this for years; something that switches on lights in my head and has my imagination working overtime to piece together the mystery of how the characters, places and times are related. I hesitate to talk about switching between time frames when several of the characters can be anywhere and everywhere at once, but it's not a problem and allows for cliff-hangers that have you dying to know what happens next. I'm glad I've had enough brushes with palaeontology, archaeology and evolutionary biology to have hooks to hang the story on, but it's still a challenge of the best kind and I keep collecting clues and getting surprises. I can't give away the plotlines but it leaves Prometheus in the dust as an origins story. This book is full of insight and invention and fair romps along. Just go with it and all will be revealed...maybe. A real delight... and bring on book two.
I bought this book on the basis that it spanned millions of years with various stories intertwined and ultimately leading to its conclusion. The story lines did indeed live up to this. But, and there is a but. Great swathes of this book lends itself to long winded back stories and detailed explanations as to the characters current circumstances. While the story itself is readable, I found myself skipping whole pages hoping that it was going somewhere, I did end up buying books 2 and 3 in the hope the story line might pick up. But in the end I felt it was all just an unbelievable anti-climax. Based on the fact that one of the characters is from a millions of years old star spanning civilisation, you would have thought they would have come up with a better solution. If you are looking for an actioned packed space adventure then this is not for you, you will feel robbed at the end. If you are looking for and in-depth, time spanning, love story, then go for it.
The plot line is interesting, but develops too slowly for my taste. The characterisation is very good and the writing style is also sufficiently good that it keeps you interested despite the slowness of the narrative.
In 'Siege of Stars', Henry Gee has produced a satisfying, funny, serious, intriguing and ambitious novel, and a thoroughly enjoyable read. 'Proper science fiction', as my Dad would say, and highly recommended for fans of the genre. I'm looking forward to reading the next two instalments; if they are as good as this one, I'm in for a treat.
In 'Sigil' Henry Gee creates epic science fiction, but he does something quite unusual: this is story populated by real people and real science. Gee understands science, not only the mechanics, but it's place in understanding human history, and the importance of the culture of science. I was fascinated by the premise that geology revealed an ancient hidden history of the Earth.
Adeptly, Gee turns his story eye through the countless ages, illuminating the tales of people, both human and not so human, but always believable. And I must give a shout out to 'horrible' a jumper with a character of its own. I read this as part of the trilogy, and immediately went on to devour the next installment.
This is a must read if you like what Brian Aldiss calls "wide screen baroque". It's got a multimillion year time span, clashing galaxies, megapowerful aliens, hidden and jaw-droppingly ancient pre-human civilisations and the near-future story of a group of palaentologists who are beginning to uncover the truth. If I have a criticism it's that the whole thing is so exuberant it's sometimes in danger of falling over its own feet. But what the hell - he who dares wins and this, first of a trilogy, is a winner!