Blue Remembered Earth – Alastair Reynolds

This is a science fiction novel from one of the acclaimed modern authors of the genre; an author with a good track record of giving me everything that’s good about SF. Therefore, I was looking forward to this first part of the “Poseidons Children” trilogy. [Hello publishers. Is there an apostrophe missing there?]

The central character is one Geoffrey Akinya, whose first name the author took from his favorite African musician. That’s an important clue as to how much love, care, and attention the author poured into his creation. That comes across strong and clear.

Akinya, who only wants out of life to be left alone to study his elephants, does not get his wish. Instead, his hyper wealthy family starts him off on a bittersweet journey of discovery, tracking after the trail left by his deceased grandmother, Eunice. The family’s reputation may be at stake because of something she did, and Geoffrey is pressed into going to the moon to investigate a starting point. Of course, things go badly out of control from his perspective after that.

The background of this brave new world is that it’s Africa that is the dominant power, and that does give the novel a different perspective. However, that difference could not keep my interest going. There were long patches in the book where I felt the author was writing word after word to show the audience how much research he had done, how much he loved elephants, and how much he could pad out a simple five minute encounter into a boring waste of time. In other words, he was writing about the things he loved, but forgetting he had an audience to entertain.

There were some highlights, when Reynolds’ undoubted talent and creativity came together at the same time as his writing showed a sharpened focus, but these were not often enough. So, some of his technological projections were inspiring and interesting, and others invoked more of a why did you bother response.

In summary, this is a big blockbuster science fiction starter for a trilogy that, er, barely gets the excitement level off the ground. It nearly bored me to death. I could not be bothered to care about the characters. It does not seem that our man was just going through the motions – there’s just too much care in the book for that, though it is the wrong type – but something has sapped his entertainment muscles and produced a tired, well meaning, monster miss of a book.

Score: 5/10.