Publisher: Open Road
Publishing Date: October 2015
Publisher Description:In this brand-new cosmic adventure by the author of The Genesis Quest and The Jupiter Theft, Torris, son of the Facemaker, knows only his small community at the base of the great Tree on a comet with almost no gravity or atmosphere. Torris’s daily struggle for survival includes harvesting frozen air to keep breathing, dodging flutterbeasts, and hunting meatbeasts for food.
Review: Torris’ saga was at once thought provoking and entertaining. The parallel story line of the ship, Times Beginning and its crew was a little too patterned and smug. The idea that Earths descendants want to come back after 6 billion years (spent mostly traveling) is kind of weak. What failed was the characterizations of its crew. For example, there is spunky, smart as a whip, Nina!. Cranky, good natured and caring, Captain Joorn! Asian side-kick and expert scientist, Chu! etc. etc.
Besides the contrived dialogue there just wasn’t a deep connection to scifi as expected. The novel moved from the comet trees into kind of a dorky space opera when Torris meets his galactic ancestors and soon learns to speak their language as well as speak dolphinese (don’t ask). These interactions come off as contrived and not too realistic.
In my opinion there was definitely some “borrowing of ideas” from Larry Niven’s “Integral Trees” (1984) novel. Two warring tribes on separate trees. Check. Near weightless environment. Check. Massive life supporting trees with resident adapted flora and fauna. Check. Spaceship saves tribe. Check. Happily integrated Tribes after saving. Check.