Thursday, September 23, 2010

Flux by Stephen Baxter

I suppose I've lost some of my sense of wonder over the years. There was a time when I believed I might actually get offplanet during my lifetime, but that dream just slides further and further away as NASA underachieves and private industry fails to step up to the plate. That said, you can understand why I find Baxter's account of life on the surface of a neutron star less than thrilling - more of an amusing tale in the tradition of Barsoom or Gor.

Unfortunately, the tale wasn't anywhere near as exciting as Burroughs' or Norman's sagas, so I ended up a couple hundred pages into it, still bored, and had to give up. The story begins with a band of genetically engineered humans who are living under primitive conditions getting devasted by a "glitch" in the star. As they wander in search of food, they encounter more "technologically" advanced groups, and become somewhat involved in their society. There was a bit about surfing on the magnetic currents in the body of the star that could have gone somewhere, but didn't by the time I quit reading.

In that vein, I once read a short story about people kayaking in lava flows on a distant world that was pretty good. Wish I could remember where.

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