Why I loved Guy Haley’s CRASH?

Or .. how I stumbled upon the most fulfilling book in recent past.

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How would a select few, displaced in a harsh and completely unique world huddle upon to make a society? What would be beginnings of colonization, if man reaches the ability to travel to the stars? Guy Haley tackles in CRASH.

Earth – overcrowded, networked, steeply unequal in distribution of wealth, a near state of oligarchy. A world where we have captured Sol’s sisters – and bring in mined ores from Jupiter and Saturn. A world where financial market is doubted to have sentience by Quants, short for quantitative analysts.

Man has invented drugs to achieve hyper-cognizance that to the brain makes time seem to move slow. Karl, a quant, analyses the market by linking himself to the virtual reality, with drugs inside his head to enhance his ability to run simultaneous simulaitons of stochastic world the financial market was. What he finds, coupled by a revelation from his old friend Cassandra, Sand in short makes him change parameters for further simulations that makes him stumble into a shocking truth, a truth that would never leave his head.

A group of scientifically chosen individuals travel to the stars, individuals who are desperate to leave the slavedom of Earth, a place owned by .01% of population, a uber-rich society called Pointers. They miss their target world and finds itself woken up from the cryosleep, some 500 years later than the designated travel time, amidst the ship crashing into a huge world of Nychthemeron, tidally locked with perpetual day in one side and harsh cold night on the other. How they regroup from the crash, individuals rising up to the occasion, having to make choices ranging from individual vs collective good- to anarchy vs democracy.

The way the story goes is very well explained. There is no ‘just stating’ feel here, one that deterred me from enjoying some books with great ideas in the past. The writing could use some help to keep the flow continuous, but that didn’t deter from the plot’s unfurling. Every idea is well flushed out, and the events are shown to be highly plausible. What happens to the first society and how a new civilization comes out of it’s womb is what this book is all about.

Rating : ★★★★☆ (4/5)

How this book worked for me?

Stumbling at the book by chance, a review I visited as a result of link hopping during a sultry afternoon browsing stating how good the hard-scifi was, I read a sample in Amazon Kindle and chose to take a calculated risk in buying it. Zackery Jernighan- an author himself, reviews harshly. If a book doesn’t work out for him, it gets 2. Never an average. CRASH had received 4.5 stars and he liked it so much that he gave 5 stars on how the book worked for himself. So the risk factor in my buying was low.

Having read numerous space operas and mostly fantasy last year, I wanted a science-fiction that brought the story down to humane levels, but left the reader in awe of the expansive nature of topics it dwelt on. CRASH hit all the above requirements bullseye. I loved the characters of Dariusz and Cassandra De Mona, Sand in short. I practically wanted to date Sand before she found Dariusz. Her ability under pressure and self starting characters, with a touch of emotional heaviness made me interested in her. The pointers of Yuri and Leonid were good sidekicks in story, dancing like puppets to Anderson, photocopy of a ghost they tried hard to escape from.

The final third of the story was very interesting in it’s own right. The society’s take on how far they’d go to survive and philosophical themes were brilliantly discussed. I’d have wanted the author to have gone deeper into it. There are some loose ends that I feel the author would tackle in subsequent books in the series.

My personal feel : ★★★★★ (5/5)

If you are looking for a sci-fi book to immerse you in awe but is firmly grounded in plausibility,carry anthropological debates, yet excites you at the edge of the seat – you gotta read CRASH.

Unfetter the lives of authors

 

Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, not everyone is J.K.Rowling or Stephenie Mayor. Success doesn’t come to most, and just reading about the yet-to-succeed authors’ lives gives you shivers. Their young life, characterized by broader imagination and fantasy, with extremely high handle on the language they write in, combined with ability to carry a story over 1000s of words.

They are shunned for petty reality tv where producers milk the plastic attitudes of general public broadcasting broken families or greedy/gluttony. It might be because the not-so-privileged have some comfort in knowing even the rich’s lives are broken too, but that discussion is for another rainy day.

Coming to the original brothers-in-crime, the authors, especially in fiction(non fiction has better representation in other media like T.V shows) their lives are marked by depression, broken homes, marriages, substance abuse and much more horrors.Even Stephen King has not been left unaffected by these inner demons.

While we talk about their inner struggles, the family takes a step back. With greedy publishers taking bigger pie in the sales, not-yet-successful full time authors’ incomes are so meager that they can’t even afford health insurance. This brings us to the subject of discussion – author Shawn Speakma. Diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2011, author Shawn Speakman quickly accrued a massive medical debt that he could not pay. Terry Brooks, author of the epic Shannara series, offered to donate a short story that Shawn could sell through to help alleviate those bills.This kicked off massive support from the fraternity that around 15 best selling authors(including Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, Tad Williams, Naomi Novik, Lev Grossman and artist Todd Lockwood) have come forward and contributed making up the anthology that is Unfettered.

Still unreleased, the anthology, by the way of Advanced Reading Copy(ARC) sales, is already helping another author Dave Wolverton whose son became comatose in a Longboarding accident. Tor.com is covering this anthology and it’s promotions in their site.

If you’ve loved stories, their capacity to kindle imagination, the adventures and the ones that make you think, please give back to the struggling. Your one day’s meal money will go a long way in helping them out.