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Just last week, some amazing news in the fast-paced world of exoplanet discoveries was announced… Alpha Centauri, the nearest stellar system to ours at 4.4 light years distant, harbors a planet. Our neighbor has long been a setting for science fiction drama, from the recently reviewed novel Alpha Centauri by the same name, to the goal of the Robinson Family in Lost in Space, to the office where the Vogons had the plans for the Earth’s destruction on file in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Almost immediately, folks began calculating how long it would take to reach the closest known exoplanet with present technology. Not that you’d want to live on Alpha Centauri Bb; it’s a blistering “hot-Earth” orbiting its host star in only 3.2 days.
Would building an interstellar ark be feasible to traverse such enormous distances? This week’s review, The Creative Fire: Book One of Ruby’s Song by Brenda Cooper looks at one such micro-verse. Out next month courtesy of Pyr Books, The Creative Fire is a fascinating tale of an often overlooked facet of the multi-generational ark concept; how would societies evolve in such a space-borne worldlet? Would they share the same dreams and goals as their ancestors?
We enter this far-flung world through the adventures of Ruby Martin, a “Gray” in a heavily stratified social hierarchy who becomes the flashpoint of a revolution. Think of Ruby as a sort of Katniss Everdeen caught up in an interstellar version of Pan-Em from the Hunger Games. It is interesting that “class warfare” seems to be an increasingly recurring theme in science fiction as of late. Perhaps as an underlying resentment in modern society?
But Ruby’s world is both at once familiar and unimaginable to our own. We thought it fascinating that to the Grays working under the heel of the supervisory Reds and the overseeing Blues, the world of the Creative Fire (the name of the vessel) is the entirety of the universe, a society that imagines very little beyond its hull. As Ruby moves up through the echelons of Red & Blue society, she learns of the history of the vessel, its ancient departure from the mythical world of Adiamo, and tales of attempted revolutions past. Ruby becomes the “cause de célèbre” both for her singing prowess and her symbol as a leader of the resistance. The series will be a fascinating one to watch unfold, as it tackles a timeless theme in an interesting context. Perhaps comparisons to Katniss and Joan of Arc are inevitable, but the tale also parallels the true to life story of Evita Peron. How will a journey of thousands of years shape us as a civilization? What is the ultimate fate of the society aboard the Creative Fire and what is its ultimate destination? This will be an intriguing saga to watch unfurl!
Next week; is that brass refractor in the attic worth anything? We take a look at telescopes of yore from a collector’s perspective with Classic Telescopes by Neil English!