Review: Horizon by Keith Stevenson


Publisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: November 2014

ISBN: 9781460704653 

Genre:  SciFi

Rating: 2.4/5


Publisher Description: Thirty-four light years from Earth, the explorer ship Magellan is nearing its objective – the Iota Persei system. But when ship commander Cait Dyson wakes from deepsleep, she finds her co-pilot dead and the ship’s AI unresponsive. Cait works with the rest of her multinational crew to regain control of the ship, until they learn that Earth is facing total environmental collapse and their mission must change if humanity is to survive.

 Review: This was masterfully written. When an author can take a limp story-line and failed plot and make that dialogue engaging, it speaks volumes about his technical ability. Where this failed was in the execution of the plot. So much time was spent in-ship, dialoguing about how this person died, or what each persons political motivations were or the endless petty and juvenile interactions and subsequent responses to EVERYTHING. Everyone has  personal convictions, no doubt, but I really don’t want to read pages and pages about it when there is a bigger universe out there. So little time was spent on the SciFi aspect of the novel that it was rendered a space opera, rather than an epic “other world” alien adventure. Rather than building a novel around the character interaction, build the characters through engaging movement i.e. shorten the time spent in space/dialogue and more on Horizon.

The Earth and it’s political machinating entities and Cait’s subsequent plans to force the Compact and the UNS into collaborating/cooperating was fairly weak. If the goal of the novel was to bring this Uber awareness to societal parallels that we ourselves face (according to liberals) of a planet wasted of resources and on the brink of extinction, then this fails as a work of science fiction. I am not even sure that Horizons’ predicted outcome of inhabitability was useful, only in that it supported the plot.  

When adult characters behave like spoiled children, especially on a space ship, you would think that due to their expertise and professionalism that they would not be mired in petty jealousies and imagined slights. There would be a willingness to grasp the bigger picture of discovery and work towards supporting each other, especially in light of their dire circumstances. So much easier, and plausible, to insert a mole that creates havoc rather than have a bunch of pissy scientists dialogue f-o-r-e-v-e-r.





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