Between The Strokes OF Night
Copyright 1985 by
I first read this in 1985 and most recently on the 17th August 2006
Judith Niles. Charlene Bloom and Wolfgang Gibbs are scientists working at
the UN Institute for Neurology in New Zealand. Their areas of speciality
are sleep deprivation and low temperature suspended animation. They are
making progress but it is far slower than they want. It looks like it is
far too slow for the time they'll have left for the world is going
to hell in a handbasket. Global warming is accelerating bringing catastrophic
Salter Wherry is a billionaire. He's almost solely responsible for the
commercial exploitation of outer space. He's made vast sums of money but
now he's spending it on the construction of space habitats. He's going to try to save
humankind, if he can, and if Planet Earth gives him time enough.
I have said in the past that I'm less than keen on novels that span
millennia and conclude with a few brave souls viewing the end of all things,
watching in mute acceptance as the galaxies fall back into the monobloc.
I prefer shorter, less over-arching novels. I prefer novels that are
over by evening, that you safely finish on the tube just as the
train slows for your station, indeed the sort of novels you'd
read upstairs on a Clapham omnibus. I want novels about a couple of
nerdish dudes repairing the gazumickey machine on the kitchen table while
the babes bravely make a stand at the kitchen door fighting off
the rampaging Undead. Or vice versa, I'm not particular. That's
not the Undead bravely making a stand at the kitchen door fighting
off rampaging babes, of course.
However, in this case I felt quite the opposite. I loved
the novel's sense of scale, and its profligate passage of time. This is
a fabulous book. Admittedly the plot is merely entertaining*, but the
ideas and occasionally the writing make this book great. Do read this,
it is surprisingly good.
*I doubt that
worldwide Planetfest competition are likely to find the very best, the
most talented, and the most brilliant of a planet's population, and in that
regard I did snigger at the the news about Syed,
near winner of the UK's The Apprentice.
Loaded on the 16th December 2006.