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.

Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey

“There’s a lot of science fiction that talks about the near future. There’s a lot about great galaxy-spanning empires of the distant future. But there’s not much that talks about the part in between. The Expanse is playing on that bridge” – authors’ reply to the question of ‘What kind of story are you telling in this series’.

Written under the pen name James S. A. Corey-a collaboration between fantasy author Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, the story revolves around two men Holden and Miller andImage - Leviathan Wakes their rising-above-human decisions that averts a catastrophe. Two men totally opposite in character, the former a ship’s pilot and the latter a tired and aging criminal detective. The men are similar in that they are solution-driven, in that they’d do anything ranging from lying-to governments, to the guiding systems of missiles and even to self-driven rocks to intimidation, extortion, to get the job done.The similarities end there. This big book is about everything that comprises our solar system, including the meta-physical.

The book is two-faced, chapters divided between Holden’s experiences and Miller’s. The former’s is fast-paced, full of incidents and action, while the latter’s is noir’ish.

Miller sets out to bring home a kidnapped daughter of a wealthy empire so she could forget her personal dreams and do what is best for her family but ends up seeing her having been devoured by something alien to mankind. Holden faces loss in form of his ship and team members and sets out to avenge it.
How these two come into contact, understand the inner political workings, discover something totally bizzare and huge and thwart an end-of-humanity incident is what this book is about. It tries being an hard sci-fi but the latter half of the book, particularly the end throws the impression away.

Written by authors one of who’s name always gets followed with being ‘George R. R. Martin’s assistant, I can understand the scope of story includes meta-physical contacts and inter-species conversations, arguments and bargaining, but can’t say I buy it. It was a great ride and I’d like to stop by saying I thoroughly enjoyed it. The writing is excellent and it felt I was eating a sweet moist cake that I could go on devouring for hours together without getting stressed. To the ‘Caliban’s war’ I go.