June 13, 2011

Phytosphere by Scott Mackay

Title:  Phytosphere
Author:  Scott Mackay
Format:  PB
Pages:  376
Genre:  Science Fiction
Publisher:  Roc, 2007
ISBN-13:  978-0451461582
Series:  Stand Alone

Favorite Quote:  They would see this fire, and they would get another lesson in how humans behaved, especially when they had nothing left to lose.

Synopsis (Amazon):  After settlement negotiations between humanity and the alien Tarsalans go horribly wrong, the Earth is engulfed in a mysterious green sphere-blocking all sunlight from reaching the surface. Only two scientists-one isolated on the Moon's lunar colony, the other trapped on a dying Earth-possess the minds and the means to destroy the sphere before it renders the world completely barren...

Review:  This is one of the best science fiction novels I've read.  Ever.  The two scientists, Gerry and Neil, are exact opposites.  Gerry is the ne'er do well, always looking for the answers but never quite finding them.  Neil is the scientific adviser to the President of the United States.

The Tarsalans are smart and sly and technologically superior.  They, however, do not seem to understand the determination of humankind to control its own destiny.  This turns out to be their great downfall, for while they can seemingly think 5 steps ahead of humans, they cannot fathom our complete inability to give up, even in a no-win situation.

And, Gerry manages to pull the win off.  The costs are massive, but the world survives and humankind is still standing, while the Tarsalans are not.  There were unexpected heroes, other than Gerry:  Ian, the alcoholic test pilot, who actually does the saving of the world; Mitch, the engineer who loses his life in the effort to make Gerry's plan come to fruition; and Gerry's family, who must survive the months on-planet while the Earth is slowly perishing and people are being killed for a can of food.

This was an incredible story.  Aliens bringing the end of the world isn't an especially new theme, but this book does it so well and this story is so gripping that it seemed new to me.

Rating:  10 / 10

No comments:

Post a Comment

Back to Top