Children of the Comet by Donald Moffit
Open Road Intergrated Media: 10/13/15
eBook review copy, 332 pages
Children of the Comet by Donald Moffit is a highly recommended science fiction story set six billion years in the future.
This novel covers two different sets of human until they meet. The first
group has been colonizing a tree growing on a comet in the The Oort
Cloud and is now a primitive society who have adapted to life on their
tree/comet. Torris is a young man who must climb the Great Tree on his
The second set of humans is on a space ship colonizing the solar system
after beings known as the First Ones forced the human race to leave the
Milky Way. Humans have developed the Higgs boso drive, though, so they
are able to travel near light speed. The ship Time's Beginning was
launched from the USA and after seeding several colonies there are two
factions that want to control the ship. One wants to go back to Earth's
solar system and settle near it while the other wants to head for the
end of the universe.
The opening quote explains growing trees on comets:
"How high can a tree on a comet grow? The answer is surprising. On
any celestial body whose diameter is of the order of ten miles or
less, the force of gravity is so weak that a tree can grow
infinitely high. Ordinary wood is strong enough to lift its own
weight to an arbitrary distance from the center of gravity. This
means that from a comet of ten-mile diameter, trees can grow out for
hundreds of miles, collecting the energy of sunlight from an area
thousands of times as large as the area of the comet itself.
Countless millions of comets are out there, amply supplied with
water, carbon, and nitrogen - the basic constituents of living cells.
They lack only two essential requirements for human settlement,
namely warmth and air. And now biological engineering will come to
our rescue. We shall learn how to grow trees on comets. - Freeman
I enjoyed Children of the Comet. Donald Moffit (1931- 2014) wrote
two of my favorite science fiction novels and so I am predisposed to
enjoy this, his final novel. While I can see that Children of the Comet needed some more work (and kept reminding me of Niven's The Integral Trees),
I did find it an interesting premise and a satisfying story. The
comet/tree civilization is far more intriguing than the spaceship crew
and their politics so I did wish that more time was spent with them.
There are also a few characters that are added in the middle of the book
that should have been present right at the start, which is another clue
that the novel was a work in progress.
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy
of Open Road Intergrated Media for review