Mike’s Prattle


Books Received; Nancy Kress – Probability Moon

Posted by Mike on December 1, 2006

  • T.E.D. Klein – Reassuring Tales
  • Brian Keene – The Conquering Worms
  • Haruki Murakami – Kafka on the Shore
  • Philip K. Dick – The Short Happy Life of the Brown Oxford & Other Classic Stories

I’m surprised it took me this long to get around to the work of Nancy Kress, she’s been highly regarded since her novella “Beggars in Spain” took an award or two. This opening number in a trilogy is a wonderfully rich hard science fiction work, or rather it comes off a bit like a space opera informed by science. The basic premise is that Earth has expanded throughout part of the galaxy by way of tunnels left over by an advanced intelligence and is now at war with a race called the Fallers who are basically a step ahead of humanity and beginning to develop technology opened up by quantum physics. Our protagonists are basically split up into three, an alien on the planet World who has been declared “unreal” by her people, a small group of humans on World studying, including an anthropologist, geologist and others, and a secret military operation that this ground crew doesn’t know about. All of the action takes place either on World or in the orbiting Zeus, who has found out that one of World’s moons is another mysterious artifact related to the tunnels. Most of the story develops as the humans interact with the Worlders, whose biology has evolved so that they “share reality,” a concept that makes both races entirely different. Kress weaves a fascinating story together out of all of this, there’s tons of quantum physics, some of it explained as well as I’ve seen it, and the relationship between humans and Worlders is brilliantly drawn, as the Worlders are trying to figure out if the humans are “real.” If they’re considered unreal, well, they get knocked off. Kress pretty much does everything right, from creating very distinct characters to developing a plot with a lot of thought provoking ideas. As the opening book in a trilogy, the book itself still comes to something of a conclusion, and everything is set up in such a way as to make me grab for the second one immediately and dig in. I’m about 30 or so pages into it now.


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