SEVEN CIRCUMSTANCES

Book Reviews & Essays on Literature

Wreck of the River of Stars, by Michael Flynn

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The Wreck of the River of StarsThis sci-fi work has been said to have “tour de force character development” and “masterful writing”. I was looking forward to devouring all 480 pages of an interesting proposition – a space ship powered by both Farnsworth nuclear fission engines and sails made of superconducting hoops. It’s worth noting that neither of the two technologies is new. How Flynn applies and expands on these concepts as a narrative device, is quite original though. He juxtaposes the energy source of levitation at the level of space flight (with sails tens of kilometers in length and masts made of aerogel), which has echoes of ancient sea-faring vessels and seamanship, against the modern (in outer space flight terms) Farnsworth engines that replaced the “old-school” form of sailing though the galaxies. This is the core theme and tension of the novel – progression versus recollection; the old crew vs the new…(Continue reading…)

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