Robert Charles Wilson
Read 2012, reviewed 5/18/2013
This was the first contemporary science fiction novel I read once I decided to undertake the Hugo Challenge. It was also the first contemporary novel that was hard science fiction. I enjoyed the book, but I felt it a little lacking. The concept was mindboggling. Some alien race builds a protective shroud around the earth to protect it from the dying sun. It also permits time to remain constant for the earth while the sun grows from burning denser materials and expands.
The real problem with the book was in the characters. I liked the main character. I didn’t like his conflict with the woman he loves and her brother. Maybe it was because the supporting characters are privileged and brilliant, and therefore un-relatable. The story begins with their friendship as children, and that’s interesting and believable. As they get older, the main character’s unrequited love for the woman becomes rather annoying. I was more interested in the cult she had joined, than she and the main character finding resolution to their relationship.
The brother is also annoying. He’s brilliant, rich, and flawed. But he’s no Hamlet. He simply seemed whiny.
There were many points in my reading when I just became tired of the relationships and just wanted the facts of the alien shroud to become uncovered. This is a flip-flop for me. Usually, I want to know more about the characters and how they interact with each other in their setting. Not the other way around.
When I finished the book, I thought, that was decent; not great, not bad. I gave it 3 stars because I believe it is worth a read. It’s just not the most satisfying book I’ve read in this challenge.