Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Celestial Matters

Celestial MattersCelestial Matters by Richard Garfinkle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Commander Aias of the Celestial Ship Chandra's Tear is charged with heading up operation Sunthief, using a ship to steal a piece of the sun and drop it on the capital city of the Middle Kingdom, the enemy of the Delian League.

This is one of those books that's hard to classify. Can something be classified as hard sf if the science in question is that of the ancient Greeks and equally ancient Chinese? That's right. Celestial matters is part hard sf, part alternate history. The Delia League is a Greek Empire founded on the science of the ancient Greeks, which works in this universe. Spontaneous Generation farms are used to create animals. Space is full of air. The humors govern the health of the body. The Delian League is at war with the Middle Kingdom, which is an equally large empire built upon Taoist science.

As you can tell, the world behind Celestial Matters is a very interesting one once you wrap your head around the science. That being said, while the story is good, the writing drags. It took me about seventy pages to be fully invested in the book. It's not a light read and the science takes a bit of getting used to.

Still, I recommend this to alternate history fans who are into the ridiculous and magical science of 2000 years ago.

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