A love letter to the literary giants of science fiction

Arkwright - Allen Steele

I had high hopes for Arkwright by Allen Steele because the premise sounded so promising. A sci-fi book about a sci-fi author (touted as being a contemporary of Isaac Asimov) that bankrolled a gargantuan scientific project that could only be cooked up by a sci-fi enthusiast? Yes, please! The basic outline of this book is that through multiple generations of one family, the Arkwright clan, an interstellar space craft would be created and launched into the vast reaches of space in the hopes of colonizing a distant planet for future human inhabitation. Each section of the book focused on a different descendant of the original creator, Nathan Arkwright. The major problem for me was that I didn't especially like any of these characters. It isn't a necessity to like the characters you read about of course but it helps if you feel invested in them because otherwise their actions make no difference to you one way or the other...which is what happened to me. Halfway through, I almost gave this book up as a lost cause but I decided to soldier through in the hopes that the ending would knock my socks off. It did and it didn't. You can probably guess what the last chapter of a book about interstellar travel will contain but if you're looking for a huge crescendo then you're going to be disappointed. When I was contemplating giving this one up I looked up other reviews and someone mentioned how it would have been better if the ending had been expanded further. I agree. By focusing on the management of the company, the fiscal pitfalls, the construction of the ship, and the foibles of each of the family members Steele missed an opportunity to really knock it out of the park. If you're a huge sci-fi nerd (as I am) then you most likely won't fall in love with this book but if you're new to the genre or a fan of the generation ship trope then maybe this one will be a win for you. 4/10 for a great concept that didn't really deliver.

Source: http://readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com