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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Audio Book Review: Inherit the Stars by James P. Hogan

This is a SCIENCE fiction story that mystery lovers could like.
Inherit the Stars, The Giants Series, book 1
by James P. Hogan

Read by John Pruden
Length 8.0 hrs • UNABRIDGE
2013 by Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Genre: Science Fiction
My Rating: 4.0 of 4.0

The man on the moon was dead. They called him Charlie. He had big eyes, abundant body hair, and fairly long nostrils. His skeletal body was found clad in a bright red spacesuit, hidden in a rocky grave. They didn’t know who he was, how he got there, or what had killed him. All they knew was that his corpse was fifty thousand years old—and that meant this man had somehow lived long before he ever could have existed.

© 1977 by James Patrick Hogan

This story is set in the not so distant future where space exploration is common place. Victor Hunt, a respected scientist and head of a Theoretical Studies program, is brought in to work on a new project. A ‘man’ has been found on the moon--where no man should be--indicating prior moon exploration by a human-like race. “Charlie” presents a puzzle for the scientists as they try to determine who he is, where he came from and how he came to die on the moon.

The prologue is quite interesting, opening the story from Charlie’s perspective before his death. We don’t know who he is but it pulls the reader’s interest into the puzzle of the story. The story then moves a bit slowly and with some confusion in the audio as I tried to identify the characters and where the story was heading.

Different departments--language, metallurgy, environment, evolution and more--are set up to examine the discoveries of the body, the instruments, materials and journals.  The scientists argue theories with one scientist being completely intractable on his evolution based position/conclusion. Everyone else’s arguments are ‘unproven’ theories therefore not possible. The “Pure Earthist” arguments insist that, due to matching DNA factors, Charlie must somehow be from Earth. Hunt is more open minded to speculation beyond demonstrative proof and is able to encourage the different departments to work together until more pieces fall into place.

The clues eventually reveal an interesting “dystopian” world that was losing ground to ice caps. The planet was apparently split into two societies who would not work together. The lives of the people were completely controlled with government authority assigning the jobs between space exploration or war. Even with these findings, it is still difficult to reconcile Charlie’s origins to fit the evolutionary models that are being insisted on.

Another discovery reveals a “Noah’s Ark” type ship buried on Jupiter with a ship full of Earth-like botany and animals. The proprietor of the ship appears to be a giant. Speculation and further investigation ultimately tie this discovery to “Charlie.”

The story reads/listens much like a documentary with the emphasis on Science theory and  “established” evolutionary insistence.  Although it is overall a bit dry, I enjoyed the data and persistent steps followed to resolve the puzzle. I wasn’t thrilled with the insistence on evolution with spontaneous mutations as, to me, that is all theory too. I liked that Hunt was willing to theorize and think outside the box.

I would be interested in reading more about Charlie’s giant companion. I think this story would be enjoyed by those who like the process of puzzling out a mystery as well as those who like ‘Science’ fiction.

Audio Notes: Unfortunately I found the narration to be stilted and dry. Considering the documentary leaning of the story I think a more enthusiastic reading might have helped to liven up the book. The accents could have been stressed more to enhance the reading. I did grow accustomed to the narration but I wasn’t overly impressed.

I received this title from Blackstone Audio through AudioBook Jukebox for an honest review.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this review with us. I think this story sounds interesting to me, but I think I will see if I can find a copy in print instead of listening to the audio book version of it.


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