Recently, I finished reading this book called Arkwright by Allen Steele. The book opens to a dying Science Fiction author, Nathan Arkwright, who wants to do something for the future generations. He sets up the Arkwright Foundation using the money he earned from his books to fund the building of a space ship that would set up civilisation on a planet called Eos many many light-years away.
The book follows a generation of Arkwrights with huge time jumps to show, not only the development, and later the journey of the spaceship called Galatique, but also the impact it has on the people of the world and those involved in its creation. The book isn’t strictly science fiction until the last section, but I think the scientific accuracy and the final section puts it under the banner of Hard SciFi.
The point is, I quite like this book. It’s been a very long time since I read a good science fiction book; because authors in recent times don’t seem to be respecting the genre, and abuse it and the liberties that they think come with this genre.
What I like about this is that is poses an important question, can science fiction actually inspire future technologies? It makes you wonder about Science Fiction’s role in shaping the future. Science Fiction authors are often called to be Futurists and they are probably in a better position to imagine future technologies than actual scientists. Another thing that I liked about this is that it depicts the impact such a development has on the world, though the book focuses only on the Arkwright family.
This book is another fine example of how a science fiction book can have so much heart without compromising the SciFi element.