Inherit the Stars

Inherit the Stars - James P. Hogan I did like this. This is Hard Science Fiction with a capital H and S. It's strength and its weakness. It can be dry at times--the writing style is pretty creaky--as one review notes filled with "As You Know, Bob"s as well as way too much narrative summary. In other words, this novel violates one of the classic writing rules: show, don't tell. There's no real conflict at the heart of this, and the characters are utterly flat and forgettable. This story is kept aloft by the play of ideas and procedures of science. It's fiction--about science. In 2028 or thereabouts--our very near future and about 50 years in the future of the book's publication, an exciting discover is made on the moon. A human corpse inside a space suit, with what seems a small notebook by its side. The problem? Tests show it to be approximately 50 thousand years old! The plot of the book consists of trying to figure out where the man dubbed "Charlie" came from. Earth? Then why aren't there any traces of a space-faring civilization on Earth of all those millennium ago? Some other planet? Then how can Charlie be so human given all we know about evolution? Solving the mystery drives the book. And yes, I did find it interesting enough to propel me through the short novel. But you have to genuinely find science, and not just its trapping interesting--and not care about strong prose or fleshed-out characters--you won't find them here. This is Hogan's first novel, and the first of four Giants novels--so I'll have to see if that changes.