Insights · April 9th, 2007
I read a remarkable book recently.
Brenda Cooper’s new science fiction novel, The Silver Ship and the Sea, is, in my opinion a must read for anyone interested in the future of humanity. Set in the distant future when descendents of humans roam the galaxy, we come upon a colony on a distant planet. This colony has rejected the super technologies of our human descendents, particularly the abilities developed that enable genetic modifications. As we join the colony, we learn of a war fought some years earlier, between these “naturalâ€ humans and a second colony which also attempted to settle the planet.
The second group consisted of genetically enhanced humans. Greatly outnumbered, these enhanced beings were eventually defeated despite their technological advantages, and a few surviving youngsters were captured and loosely adopted by the victors.
We enter the world as these kids are growing older and beginning to question their present, past and future, and as the original colonists grow worried about what to do as the kids grow up. Thus begins a sweeping adventure as two histories collide, and two cultures struggle with the question of whether they can live together.
With richly drawn characters and plausible future technology, the book stands out in its genre. It is in the author’s ability to envelope you in a new and strange world that the book takes wings. Today, weeks after finishing the book, I can wander the high lake country with its hidden secrets, see the sweeping grass plane beneath the cliffs on which the central village sits, imagine the tidal wave sweeping toward the distant shore, and long to enter the mysterious silver ship.
Moreover, as I know from the study of today’s scientific developments, the dilemmas posed in Brenda’s breakout novel, her first as a solo author, are not the stuff of the distant future but rather the very issues we may face as soon as twenty or thirty years from now. In fact, Brenda has grabbed the latest headlines about genetic engineering and nanotech and artificial intelligence and turned them into flesh and blood in a story that will transport you to another place and time, yet remind you of the choices that loom in our own day.
Brenda has been contributing to Futurist.com since the beginning and it is fun to see her witing career blossoming with this, her second novel.