January 16, 2024

Review: Generation Ship

Generation Ship Generation Ship by Michael Mammay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I ended up liking this book, but my approval is a bit...tepid. That's because despite its being nominally "science fiction," it is rather light on the science. Especially with the setting of a 250-year-old generation ship, which is a dicey proposition at best, and there is precious little info given as to how this ship actually works. The author is far more concerned with shipboard politics, factions and revolutions. This overriding theme runs through the first three-quarters of the book, and the sudden turn in the last chapters to a tale of first contact is somewhat disconcerting. Not that the aliens found on the planet aren't interesting, but it feels like we should have spent a lot more time with them instead of all the political machinations.

The characters are also not delved into in any great depth. For example, one of several viewpoint characters, scientist Sheila Jackson, is written as if she is somewhere on the autism spectrum, but that's not explored in any detail. That aspect of her personality would be important to the plot, and it feels strange that it's not addressed. The characters are also not differentiated enough to make a lasting impression and became hard to tell apart after a while, even with chapter headings stating which character is taking center stage for the chapter.

Bottom line: this book was pleasant enough for what it is, but it is also eminently forgettable. I really like my generation ship space operas to have better characters and science.

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