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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

Beyond Infinity

Copyright 2004 by Gregory Benford

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Awful (1/5)

I first read this on the 13th March 2004.

In the far, far, far future, Superhumans have genetically reconstructed the urhumans, the original natural humans of our milieu. These Supras have created small tribes of such people across the ancient Earth.

Cley is one of these natural humans. She is a young woman growing up in the rustic lifestyle of the Hard River tribe, while around her, and in the skies above, superhumanly evolved humanity live their distant, mysterious ways.

Then Earth is attacked by monstrous forces and amid the massive destruction, all of Cley's tribe is killed, except herself.

Now she must work with the Supras to battle the greatest evil humanity has ever known.

The beginning of the novel is perfectly reasonable SF: young woman growing up in some distant time and learning about her world. As she learns, we also learn that she is not as primitive nor her environment as rustic as we initially suppose.

There's a lovely interlude where she is saved by a far-future version of a raccoon, and forms a firm friendship with it.

But then it rather changes pace, retargetting itself to the younger reader as a scientific "Alice In Wonderland", a "Sophie's World" for futurology. At its best it's reminiscent of Aldiss' "Hothouse". For far too much of the book one can only assume that Gregory Benford must have read and enjoyed "Heartlight" by T. A. Barron, something I find astonishing.

Hard River Cley, our reluctant heroine, experiences most of the astounding adventure as a dazed confusion of bright colours. However, the friendly "Seeker After Patterns" is on hand to explain all this in terms with which an ecologically-aware twelve-year-old would feel comfortable.

And even though it is patiently reiterated that humans are not the centre of the universe, it becomes obvious that this is the opposite of the true state of affairs, and quite right too!

Loaded on the 5th May 2004.
Cover of Beyond Infinity
Cover art by Bob Warner

Reviews of other works by David Brin and Gregory Benford:
Heart Of The Comet

Reviews of other works by Gregory Benford:
In The Ocean Of Night
Great Sky River
The Martian Race
The Sunborn
The Stars In Shroud

Reviews of other works by Gregory Benford and Gordon Eklund:
If The Stars Are Gods

Reviews of other works by Gregory Benford and William Rotsler:
Shiva Descending

Reviews of other works with covers by Bob Warner:
Far Frontiers
Shadow Of The Hegemon
Shadow Puppets
Walter Conventions of War

Reviews of other works with covers by Bob Warner and Rita Frangie:
Red Thunder