Arkwright by Allen Steele
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
In a way, Arkwright is Seveneves on easy mode. A multi-generational science fiction exploration novel, instead of being reliant on super hard science, it's a love letter to science fiction itself to fuel the plot along and make an enjoyable read.
The story is about an author, Arkwright, who is right in line with the golden age of his time generations ago. With his royalties and investments, he starts a secretive fund to eventually launch an interstellar spaceship to a planet believed to be able to sustain life. The story follows his progeny over the generations working toward this goal, the problems that persist in such a feat, and, ultimately, the end result.
This book works in the sense that it's a really pretty, low-stakes investment with an enjoyable outcome. If you're looking for the sort of "against all odds" action and problem-solving that Seveneves provided, you're not going to get it here - this book is more optimistic and is more about the people involved than the science to get there. If you're not okay with a lot of handwaving away of problems and situations, this book might be frustrating as a result, but it's not what the book is for. Instead, it's an appreciation for the Big Thinking science fiction used to provide and an appreciation for those willing to make things work even with no immediate benefit, like those in space industries today who will not live to see the fruits of their effort.
As a read, it was great. I loved my experience with the book. As a science fiction read, I prefer the harder stuff, but that's okay, too. This book was just too fun not to put down, and is a worthy read on its own. A great read overall.
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