Edmund Cooper's Seed of Light (1959) is less of a traditional narrative of the voyage of a generation ship as are its fellow generation ship novels of the 40s/50s. The best examples are Brian Aldiss' Non-Stop (1958) and Robert Heinlein's Orphans of the Sky (1941). Seed of Light is more like a piece of pseudo-history interlaced with fragments of narrative of varying effectiveness. The work is best described as a thematically-linked series of novellas tracking the future development of man in broad strokes à la Brian Aldiss' Galaxies Like Grains of Sand (1960). Unfortunately, Cooper's original splicing of the generation ship theme onto a Future History template (made popular but Olaf Stapleton and Isaac Asimov among others) is extremely uneven. Some portions are involving while others are plagued by laborious epoch-spanning pseudo-historical lectures.
Because each part is a separate novella (the last two are more closely connected) I'll rate them separately.
Brief Plot Summary (some spoilers)
Part I (2.5/5): The language of the brief Part I's Proem "Bitter Harvest" is an indication of Cooper's frustratingly obvious anthropological philosophizing: "Families united into tribes, and tribes into nations. Cities and civilizations came into being -- monuments to the abilities of Man as an organizer, Man as a builder, Man as an artist-scientist-priest. Man as a conqueror..." (7). Cooper inundates the reader with pseudo-philosophical babble in a desperate attempt for the work to come across as epic in scope. What's worse is that the Proem's grandiose pretenses devolve into the weakest portion of the work -- Part I's straightforward narrative of events leading up to a nuclear war that wrecks most of Earth.Read more ›
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I could not find a review on this book any where.So to all you Edmund Cooper fans which I am one let this one pass.I have read most of Cooper's Work and have a hard time believing he wrote this one.Cooper writes character driven stories with just enough discriptive and detail to set the stage with a little mild sex and action thrown in.This book has no action no sex and is made up of super long dialoge between people.It is about the destruction of earth by war.You get this by reading these long discussions between people.There is a space ship that is self supporting that the author does in to long detail to describe.Finaly after 72 pages of boreing Dialoge 20 the people take off through space looking for a new home.To get from Solar system to another takes a whole life span.After the first generation which he did go in to a little depth the suceeding generations just came and went without much said about them.Thy hopped from solar system to solar system looking for a home.The last half of the book was mostly in narative form almost like an astronomy lesson.Finally after millinia thy found a beautifull blue planet with continants and oceans.It turned out to be earth so thy decided to land.End of story.This book was about as exciting as someone telling about going in serch of a certan Hamburger to McDonalds.What a Burger,Wendeys,Dairy Queen and Jack in the Box.Even though Cooper's name was on the cover.I JUST DON'T BELIEVE HE WROTE THIS ONE!!!!!!!!!!