Saturday, December 28, 2013

Dark Universe, by Daniel F. Galouye

Book cover I read about Dark Universe online, in a "best" sci-fi book list from somewhere. Richard Dawkins recommended it as a very good book and one of his favourites. I can see why the book would appeal to Dawkins, perhaps he even read it when he was a child. The idea is that the book is classical pulp fiction; the characters are simple and undeveloped, the logic strained and the science only consistent with the times in which it was written. At first, when I started reading, I was captivated by the world of people living underground after a nuclear apocalypse, but then I started getting more and more annoyed with the leaps of logic and superficial characterisation. I thought it was a book written by a teenager, like Eragon maybe, but instead it was written by a grown man in the 50s. When I learned about this I understood more of why the book existed at all and why people seemed so... stupid and onetracked. The ending, something that almost offended me, not by its quality - which wasn't good to begin with, but by its implications, is classic 1950 "scientific" thinking. The hope of humanity as small minded arrogant assholes.

Bottom line, it is a simple and easy to read book, in a bad way. The science for it is lacking, the characters are simplistic and the plot classic pulp (prince and princess kind of crap). Too bad that a good initial concept was wasted by a mediocre writer in a mediocre time.