Rating – 3 stars
Date Finished – July 13, 2017
57/120 in 2017
Sadly, I think that this book is suffering from bad advertising – billed as a combination of Station Eleven and The Martian, it seems that a lot of readers have come expecting something that this book doesn’t deliver.
That said, it when considered on its own, it’s a really interesting novel! Set in the near future, privately-owned space exploration company (Prime Space) is sending three astronauts on a 17-month simulation in the Utah desert which is designed to prepare them for the first manned mission to Mars. The tree astronauts – Helen, Yoshi, and Sergei – are under extreme observation, as are their families. the novel mostly explores the relationships between the tree astronauts and one respective family member for each (Helen’s daughter Mireille, Yoshi’s wife Madoka, and Sergei’s son Dmitri). Oddly, but interestingly, the perspective of a Prime Space employee is also included.
This novel is a quiet exploration of a few characters, their dedication and sacrifice to their work, the implications of space travel, and the psychological trial of the mission. There is very little action – almost none, really. About 70% of the way through the novel, there is a hint of what might be a major plot step forward, but it’s really just more internal, psychological, character stuff masquerading as exciting action. If you don’t like character-driven fiction, this is NOT FOR YOU.