Learning the World: A Scientific Romance
by Ken MacLeod
Review by Ernest Lilley
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 0765313316
Date: 01 November, 2005 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Article /
From official release/information:
The good news is that I liked this perspective churning tale of generation ships and alien invaders, but the bad news is that it starts a bit slowly and just when it's really taking off the author commits deus ex machina (quite literally) and wraps the whole thing up. Sadly, while the "Civil Worlds" universe remains open for future stories, this tale stands more or less alone. At least according to what the author tell us in our interview this month.
Atomic Discourse Gale, Horrocks Mathematical, and a host of others with charmingly retro-sci names are the second generation on a colony ship heading out from inhabited human space and coming up on their destination star system. Colonizing new worlds is pretty much old hat for humans at this point, and it's been a long trip (400 years), so they're looking forward to arriving. When they get there, they expect to make habitats out of the asteroid rubble, settle the habitable planet and prepare for the starship's next jump outward. What they don't expect is a first contact situation with a race of batwinged folks in the middle of their own pre-dawn of the space age cold-war fear the enemy era. That's only fair, since the aliens aren't expecting comets to slow down as they enter the solar system.
(Source: Tor Books)