Another Sunday afternoon, this time in Parc du Cinquantenaire

One of my other New Year resolutions was to read more sci-fi. When I was in my teens about half of what I read was sci-fi because my dad’s huge collection (the other half was crime because my mom’s collection). I got to know and love Robert Heinlein and Philip K. Dick, but over time I made the step into fantasy and started neglecting the final frontier. Lately I’ve been getting the itch again.

“Pushing Ice” just came to confirm there’s nothing like a good sci-fi book  to put everything into perspective. All the small annoyances of day-to-day life become nothing in comparison with the expansion of time that came before us and that will lie ahead. Facing your complete insignificance and accepting it is both scary and utterly fascinating.

In 2057 the nuclear-powered ship Rockhopper is on a routine mining expedition in the solar system when it’s unexpectedly requested to undergo a special mission. Janus, one of Saturn’s moons, has inexplicably gone off-orbit and is moving away and beyond the solar system. Rockhopper is the closest ship and accepts to go closer, tag it for a while and send valuable data back to Earth. Janus it appears, is an alien construction, an enormous and enigmatic machine that is now apparently going home to a distant galaxy.

Saying more would the plot away, but expect political intrigues and power struggles, alien encounters and (as a Space Opera must) a take on what it means to be Human. Reynolds puts humanity under a microscope and sees a grain of sand in an immense galactic background of time and space. He’s a former European Space Agency man and you can tell it by the actual and speculative science used and the intellectual imagination… or at least, even you don’t understand half of the technical descriptions, it still sounds impressive!