“Grateful for this opportunity to create a new society in full harmony with nature, we enter into this covenant, promising one another our mutual trust and support. We will face hardship, danger, and potential failure, but we can aspire to the use of practical wisdom to seek joy, love, beauty, community, and life.“
Within the first few pages this turned into a dangerous endeavor with creepy plants that seemed to be after the small band of colonists. I was very quickly immersed in the storytelling of the first chapter. Consecutive chapters took me a little longer and eventually the story grabbed me. Probably, when a certain plant got involved more deeply.
I had expected a different book, more of a hard SF colony / first contact novel. Instead the book has an episodic set-up, with a new generation of colonists telling their story in each new chapter. Not something I am usually fond of in a novel. Eventually a read thread emerges, connecting the generations. Each generation has their own encounters, developments and problems. Some of the colonists were likable, many of the others not so much.
Burke gives us lessons in sociology, biology, biochemistry and glimpses of possible what-ifs. It‘s a bit of a time-lapse civilization crash course with hippies in a first contact situation with the local flora and fauna. As some other reviewer mentioned already, I don‘t think the number of colonists would be viable longterm. The gene pool seems too small.
At times this made me think of Tchaikovsky‘s Children of Time. The book really came to life for me, when the local flora got a voice and started talking to each other. I wish, some people I know were capable of growing a humour root! Loved the imaginative fauna as well.
“Our future would be another discovery—or, if we understood how we had arrived at where we were, it could be a choice.“