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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

Eternity Road

Copyright 1997 by Jack McDevitt

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Mediocre (2/5)

I first read this in 1999 and most recently in May 2000

Having spent the last four weeks flat on my back recovering from a misspent youth, I was in need of a road book. Jack Kerouac's "On The Road" would have been ideal, except that it would have resulted in me quitting my job, calling up my old mate Mike Marsh and setting out to backpack across Asia. So I settled for something less energetic, namely making a decision whether to reread "Destiny's Road" by Larry Niven, or McDevitt's "Eternity Road". I plumped for the latter and think for this lazy Sunday that I made the right decision.

This is "another humankind struggling to rebuild after a global catastrophe". It is hundreds of years after almost everybody died. In America, small towns are rebuilding. A few books survive from before the holocaust. Myths and legends persist about pre-collapse civilisation. One of these legends is of the city of Haven, which allegedly survived the disasters and attempted to maintain civilization and knowledge through the intervening centuries.

Chaka's brother left on the previous expedition to find this lost city, from which only one person returned alive, and now, nine years later, Chaka herself decides to form an expedition and seek once more for Haven.

I enjoyed this. What surprised me is just how many of the travelers get killed off along the way - it hardly seemed fair really - there I was just beginning to get their names straight and they're casually disposed of without even a jot of consideration for the effort I'd already put in. On the other hand, their deaths add a nice, if sad, touch of tough reality to the story.

What did I like best? Union Station's greater than 745 years of dedicated service. Now that's an uptime of which to be proud.

And on the subject of post-Apocalyptic SF, if you haven't yet read "A Canticle for Leibowitz", then order it from Amazon now, assuming it's still in print.

Loaded on the 16th May 2001.
Cover of Eternity Road
Cover art by Joe Danisi