Sunday, December 29, 2013

Book Review: The Light of Other Days

The Light of Other DaysThe Light of Other Days by Arthur C. Clarke

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is a book that I really wanted to like--tried to like throughout the long slog of reading it. I've always been a big fan of Clarke since his Rendezvous with Rama and 2001 days, but alas I can't say I enjoyed reading The Light of Other Days quite as much. I realize Clarke wasn't the best with developing three-dimensional characters as he is with explaining esoteric science theories, but is it too much to expect at least one character in a novel of this scope be someone you can cheer on? The premise of the WormCam and exploring Earth's past and the social upheaval it causes is intriguing I'll admit. But when the reader is bombarded page after page of the authors' take on historical personalities and events with little attention given to the fact that on page one they've set a planet-killing asteroid directly into Earth's path... Well, your suspension of disbelief gets stretched a bit. You become irritated that you've been tricked into reading what could be equated as anti-religion propaganda and not a science fiction yarn. I expected something a bit better from these authors, frankly.

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A J said...

I've not read this book, but then I don't like Clarke's work much anyway. His characters generally do lack personality, because he was driven by the science rather than the plot.

Celine said...

I generally like the "science" part of hard sci-fi, but one decent character you can relate to comes in handy. That, and actually trying to move the story forward instead of endlessly circling around and around giving your spin on historical events. After a while, I wanted to scream, "Enough already--get on with the story!" why have characters at all if you're not going to use them except as massive info dumpers?