ALL THE STARS ARE SUNS Kindle Edition
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- Publication Date : October 15, 2017
- File Size : 1694 KB
- Print Length : 226 pages
- Word Wise : Enabled
- ASIN : B075VLHXNQ
- Language: : English
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Simultaneous Device Usage : Unlimited
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,506,328 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The discovery that she had written a novel made me very happy; the discovery that it was self-published caused me some concern. In the end, both feelings were correct.
You see, it's actually quite a good book; but it desperately wants copyediting.
In a twenty-third century where many of the problems of our time have been solved, there are (of course) new problems. Millions, perhaps billions, of people live on the Universal Minimum Income because there simply are no jobs for them. Intelligent machines do most of the unskilled and skilled but non-creative work more cheaply and "better" than a human worker could do.
In this world we meet Quan Yin, who, in the first chapter, easily disables three men who attempt to rape her. This is probably just as well for them, because it quickly turns out that Quan has no sexual organs of any type. She is man-made.
But she isn't an android, or a robot. She's something new, an entire prosthetic body linked to an optoelectronic analogue of a human brain. She has emotions, thoughts, desires, and as much free will as any human being.
Quan has been purpose-built as the first of a kind that will pilot and crew interstellar "seedships," which will, over thousands of years, terraform the planets of a new sun and plant an entire ecosystem, suitable for human habitation. Then, they will raise human infants to inhabit them -- which is why crew who could feel human emotions were necessary in the first place.
The rape attempt brings Quan, previously a secret, to the public attention, and much of the book is about the business and political maneuvering that results from the discovery. Brown has created a lovely set of factions for her 23d century, including "neo-Luddites" who want jobs returned to humans and religious - or perhaps religiose - "Dominionists" who believe humans have no business off the Earth. (There are thriving colonies on Luna and Venus, and one starting on Mars, as the story takes place.) Each has its part to play in a complex and potentially deadly game whose prize is the fate of the Diaspora Foundation, the century-old nonprofit organization behind the seedships.
Not only the factions, but the characters are plausible and full of life. Particularly intriguing are Dr. M'Beke, who designed Quan's brain, and the Honorable Rufus Quinn, who seems at first to be a villain but is actually much more complex than that.
Unfortunately for all this goodness, the book is riddled with typoes, grammar errors, and infelicitous word choices which any good copy editor would have flagged for Brown to fix. It is a truth universally accepted that nobody can proofread their own manuscript.
I found Brown’s exploration of how humans react to the “other” fascinating. By delving into how people react to an artificial intelligence who is conscious and aware, she confronts our timeless and very human fears and prejudices against those who are “not like us”. She also examines how people who embrace the “other” interact with those who oppose them, and how they cope when the “other” doesn’t match their expectations. She has taken many of today’s hot button issues and shown how our not too distant descendants may be coping with them.
This is a hard science fiction novel; meaning the science is an accurate extrapolation of what we know and can build today. No warp drives, time travelling, or other tech that requires science that we have at best only a glimmer of understanding. Brown describes highly plausible technical advancements for the 23rd century, which will appeal to fans of hard science fiction, like myself. If you aren’t one who wants to delve into the science, then I recommend you skim over the descriptions.
This is a self-published novel. Like many such novels, it has a few editing issues, such as typos. I am forgiving of them, as I love to support independent author/publishers. I expect that a future edition will address the issues.
Overall my main issue with the book is that it was just boring. I felt no emotion throughout the entire story. Not wanting to give away any spoilers, but the attempted rape scene at the story’s beginning should have grabbed me (the reader) and brought me into the story, it didn’t. Later in the book the sabotage at the genetics labs on Venus and of the Seed ships should have been the climax of the story, I was almost falling asleep. After reading the Epilogue, I had to ask myself, was the book just to set the stage for a future book that takes place on one of the worlds where the seed ships land so the author can explain the how the super intelligent birds came to be?