1/09/2011. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: TOR-UK. 373 page hardback. Price: GBP17.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-230-74877-4) .
check out website: www.panmacmillan.com
‘Final Days’ by Gary Gibson is the first book in an unnamed series as of yet. By the 23rd century, mankind has used spaceships to reach the stars and wormholes (should these be called stargates?) to return home. Unlike the TV series, they have learnt that the wormholes provide a means of time travel into the future and past. A wormhole set up on a closer star is used to return information about the future and that is the demise of the Earth. There is then a need to find out what caused it and to save some of mankind from its fate with deviating from that future. (Doesn’t that sound like the premise for the short-lived TV series ‘Odyssey 5’?) That has started to happen with some growth happening in the ocean causing people to panic and flee but the military are closing down the wormholes so you can’t even get to the Moon, let alone anywhere else.
You are thrown into the story running and it isn’t until a few chapters in that you’re brought up to speed as to what is going on, so read the back cover occasionally. The story stumbles around a bit between different character before following the lives of Mitchell Stone and Saul Dumont as in parallel they are caught, tortured, escape and trying get off-world with their own missions. No spoiler in that respect because you have to read to find out just what is going on and the information they have.
As I read further into his book, I started thinking about this wormhole time travel and found a classic reality flaw. Granted the wormhole will get you anywhere faster than the spaceship that took you there but the relative time would still be in the now, that is the present time ie you wouldn’t have gone into the past unless there is some other mechanism involved. What you know in the future wouldn’t reach the past. Hopefully, there will be a better explanation in the next book.
Using a replica of the old Apollo moon mission modules to get to the Moon is an interesting quirk of the book but considering how much time was spent in the earlier part of the book, the ending seems far too rushed and events are skipped in a few lines and doesn’t sink in. There is one thing to increase the pace but this is far too disproportionate.
Some of the plot elements are awfully similar to existing stories out there but these are used as a means to an end than purely being ‘borrowed’. One of the things Gibson has made use of that I haven’t seen elsewhere is contact lens that can provide info about you like some of those new hi-tech mobile phones can do. I’m not altogether sure that is entirely possible, even for a future society, purely from a storage point of view, not to mention a distraction from what else is going on around you.
I’m still puzzling where this series can go to next but saying why approaches spoiler but cutting off an infection means there has to be other means to get picked up and there is still a quandary as to which decision was correct at the end of the novel. Watch their space.
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Stephen Hunt's novels - USA