Sunday, October 11, 2015

Children of the Comet

Children of the Comet by Donald Moffit
Open Road Intergrated Media: 10/13/15
eBook review copy, 332 pages
ISBN-13: 9781497682948

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 dream/vision quest.

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 Dyson"

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 purposes.

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