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Monday 17 May 2021

The Stars That Beckon by Kevin Simington

I'm not sci-fi's biggest fan, I'll be honest. I can't quite seem to gel with aliens or robots or whatever fantastical being the genre coughs up. But two things persuaded me to read this: I've already read a crime/mystery novel by the author, which I thoroughly enjoyed and which cemented him into my top-author list. The second thing was that this is 'hard science fiction': based on real science we understand currently. So none of those daft two-headed or six-legged or robotic aliens.

We've gone way, way, way into the future here. Quite a few thousand years, in fact. Planet Earth has been finally and monumentally ruined (by us), so what humanity has managed to survive and escape are off, in a starship, to find somewhere else in the universe that's habitable. If you thought Alexa was pretty nifty adding items to your supermarket trolley, tell you jokes, switching your lights on and off and telling you what the weather is going to be today, then Angie and Genni will blow your minds. (But are quite possibly as annoying as Alexa.)

I confess, an awful lot went over my head (geosynchronous, melataxane, echyons, anyone?) But that didn't stop me finding it very clever and very intelligent. And it didn't stop me thoroughly enjoying it. Simington knows how to construct a cracking plot. He also knows how to cast a story: the characters are diverse, engaging and fun (and funny). The dry wit and humour I so loved in Someone Else's Life is very much present in this, so despite my ignorance in all things scientific, there's much to enjoy and delight in.

Well, gosh. I might even read another one!

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