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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Crystal Rain by Tobias S. Buckell

Crystal Rain by Tobias S. Buckell. New York: Tor, 2006. ISBN: 978-0-765-31227-3

I had never heard of Tobias Buckell before reading this book. But here's a science fiction author who does it right. The themes are not exactly new or unique, but the story is both. We have humans settling a planet, but fighting with an alien race for domination. In their disparate attempt to survive, humans close off the wormhole approach to the system, stranding both aliens and humanity.

Now several hundred years have passed, and the aliens, acting as gods to a large portion of humanity, are mounting a savage attack on the last redoubt of the free humans. A few original humans are still around, mostly unbeknownst to the the current inhabitants, due to advanced long life technology no longer available to the masses.

Just to keep things interesting, the most important of these, the man with the key to unlocking some crucial piece of original technology, is suffering from amnesia! He has a wife and a son, but no memory of his former life among the stars.

Another facet to the story is that most of the human settlers originally came from a Caribbean island, and have inherited many of the speech mannerisms and customs of their place of origin. The aliens that have enslaved much of humanity have set up an Aztec style religion, replete with bloody human sacrifices, just as did the original Aztecs.

None of the above is what makes the story, however. That's just the setting. Per usual, the story itself, the characters, their motivations, their actions, their thoughts and feelings—all of these are what make or break the book. And in this case, I have no complaints. An excellent story, set in a classic SciFi paradigm, plenty of suspense—what more could you want? Highly recommended for all SciFi fans.

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