Copyright 2000 by
I first read this on the 1st November 2001.
Fifty years from now all of Europe has become communist, struggling
along amid the
normal corruption, conspiracies and schisms of the socialist world.
The United Kingdom is just a state within this Soviet European
Community. America exists in fervent opposition to Europe, the two
sides mutually incomprehensible.
Our hero Matthew Cairns is an project manager working in IT and he's
surprisingly good at his job. However, there's another side to Matt, he's also
something of a revolutionary, a subversive.
As the European government announces, astonishingly, that their
cosmonauts have made contact with aliens of god-like power and
knowledge, Matt receives - to his utter amazement - secret plans for
for a stardrive and a starship.
Meanwhile far from Earth, there is a region
of space known to its inhabitants as the Second Sphere.
The inhabitants of this Second Sphere are all from Earth, other
intelligent species, abducted by these god-like aliens, snatched
at intervals throughout Earth's history, starting before the
dinosaurs and continuing through to the present.
But with the stardrive that Matt has acquired Earth's cosmonauts
will be going to this Second Sphere, not as abductees, but
This is great, predictably.
The Second Sphere plot is a good foundation for an
SF novel, or indeed a series. There is mystery and there is room for adventure and
excitement. But it's the other narrative, Matthew's experiences in
2049, that makes this novel so successful. It adds a realism, an
immediacy that makes you feel it could be happening to you.
Loaded on the 31st January 2003.