This is the second of three posts (in keeping with the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour guidelines) about Offworld. Previously, I focused on technical details, story-crafting, and characterization; here, I intend to talk about the science and science-fiction aspects of the work and (hopefully) tomorrow finish up with a post on the Christian elements.
- I was fairly happy with the level of science included in the novel - especially in the first half. Actually, I should modify that - I was fairly happy with the advanced tech use in the novel - and that included the different sort of problem solving tricks that the crew used during their journey to Houston.
- The insistence that "we're going to figure this out!" - in the face of both opposition and uncertainty - was one of the things that kept me interested in the book. (This is as much a characterization thing as it is a plot thing - I love characters that keep on keeping on.)
- As noted, there was less inventing new things/discovering new things than there was adapting tools left lying about by other people. Granted, this is what nearly every immediate post-apoc novel does - follow the heroes as they wander about looking for a can opener. This trend continues even after the crew gets to Houston - they're just fighting with the Men In Black SUVs for the can opener. I would not have minded more *investigating* as they went - if it could have been done without sacrificing the pacing of the plot.
- I did like the electric cars and a couple of other notes that showed the difference between now and the future of the novel. It's a hard line to draw - how to make it enough different to keep up with the visible rate of change (*cough*Star Trek's clunky handhelds*cough*) and yet not overwhelm the reader with culture shock. I would have voted for *more* change in 35 years, but that's just me.
- That a portion of the internets was still up, much less GPS - I'm on the fence about that. On the one hand, it was only a couple months. On the other hand, it was a couple months!
- I'm afraid I wouldn't have bought the safe landing of the crew at Canaveral at all in a secular novel. In CSFF, I can say 'Oh, hand-of-God, okay' and ::handwave:: it that way.
- I was also pretty pleased by the science fiction aspects of the novel - which, frankly, got a big boost from the absolute 'we're not in Kansas anymore' factor: I'm about as likely to ride in a space ship to Mars as I am to wander about a deserted Earth at this point.
- Of the many different sorts of SF, I thought this novel fell closer to being 'hard'-SF (physics, space, startravel), rather than the 'softer' SF that makes up psychology and social sciences, etc. I had this concept in my mind that most Christian or faith-driven SF was going to be 'soft' SF, and I'm not unhappy to be wrong.
- Extra-dimensional devices are also v. cool - even if they are, in part, driven by ancient glowy boxes of uncertain provenances. I particularly like how the incident on Mars was worked back into the main plot. (more about how the incident on Mars was handled from a faith angle in the next post.)
- Some sources that reminded me of this book/that this book reminded me of: Life After People - the history channel tv series, and World Without Us, a book by Alan Weisman. Of course, post-apoc books are as old as the bomb (ed: *cough*Revaluation*cough*) - or older! - and journeys through deserted lands are a stock part of SF, I think. Part of World War Z was strongly evoked for me, as was Left Hand of Darkness.
- For the space & Mars parts - Mars, by Ben Bova. I'm trying to remember something other than Space: 2001 that actually featured free-fall space travel.
Again, fairly shallow. (Doesn't help that I'm on the road, again.)
Find Offworld at Amazon.
Robin Parrish’s Web site - http://www.robinparrish.com/
Robin Parrish’s blog - http://twitter.com/robinparrish
Other CSFFBT participants:
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Todd Michael Greene
Heather R. Hunt
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Rachel Starr Thomson