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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Building Harlequin's Moon by Cooper and Niven

Building Harlequin's Moon by Larry Niven and Brenda Cooper. New York: Tor, 2005. ISBN: 0-765-31266-2

From the style of the writing, and based on the acknowledgment from Ms. Cooper, I would venture a guess that most of this novel is her work, not belittling the assistance she received from Larry Niven as one of the master scifi writers of the current generation. But Harlequin's Moon just doesn't read much like a typical Niven novel; it doesn't have the flavor I've learned to recognize from reading just about everything he's written.

I have to confess that I don't know if I would have picked the book up without Niven's name on it, but that name was enough to make me grab it immediately I saw it on the new books shelf at my local public library. And I certainly wasn't disappointed. The book is definitely worth the effort.

Cooper spins a tale that spans millenia, although most of the story takes place over a normal human life span. But humans use the technique of cold sleep to not only create a habitable planet out of several moons and other space detritus in a star system far from earth, they then sleep for 60,000 years to let things develop to where they can begin creating a viable ecosystem to sustain them.

Tension arises when those who came with the ship treat the new “moon born” as second class citizens, barely better than slaves, in their goal to create a temporary civilization capable of building the massive linear accelerators they need to create enough anti-matter fuel to continue their intended journey to another distant start system.

Highly recommended for all fans of “hard” science fiction.

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