…SF addict …

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Tau Zero by Poul Anderson

I just read this novel and I can honsetly say  this is my kind of SF! Sure there are one or two head-scratching moments (SQR) I-v2/c2 where v=the ship's velocity and c=speed of light)  but you can let them ride over your head and enjoy what is essentially a human story; it sounds like a corny back-of-the-book blurb but it is a story of a voyage, a journey across time and space, a story of teamwork and the rewards it brings. But also it is, as a fellow Goodreads contributor, mindblowing!
Basically 50 men and women are chosen for a mission to find a new home around a star in Virgo, and to do so they must travel at as close to c as possible-they gradually get faster and faster but then the ship Leonora Christine, develops a fault meaning they will be  unable to decelerate should they reach their destination. They build up a huge velocity and see the universe around them evolving at a staggering rate-months pass on the ship while millenia pass by outside. When the fault is discovered they face a decision, keep speeding ahead in the hope they find a new home eventually or give up and commit mass suicide-it is essentuially a story of survival against the odds.

It is huge conceptually and yet it makes for compelling reading. Definitely a keeper and the kind of book to get you back into SF if you've been away from it!

2 comments:

j purdie said...

Not someone I've actively pursued to read. Years ago I think I may have taken some of his books out from the library but I always felt (rightly or wrongly) he was more fantasy than SF. Unfortunately my 'to be read' pile is such a height I'm a little afraid of adding to it for fear of structural damage if it falls over.

Larry said...

Ah yes Anderson has done fantasy but he's done as much SF if not more! Tau Zero is very much Hard SF, but with good characterisation.
I've only read one other book of his, Brain Wave from the 1950s,which is about a galactic cloud thru which the earth passes, the result of this is that people begin developing much higher IQs and apes and other animals develop intelligence.