The Palace of Eternity

An interesting piece of science fiction that does a lot of things well, making it enjoyable for me despite some flaws.

I’ve been reading quite a lot more often lately and it’s kind of awesome, thanks to the Kobo I bought, which I still haven’t reviewed, I’ve managed to increase my reading and reduce my distration quite a bit! Because of this I was looking for more recommendations online and I found out about this book from a Top 15 Sci-Fi Books video I watched a while ago. Thanks to the low page count and the high praise of the review—I also wanted something short to read alongside Dune—I picked this up.

That was quite an interesting read, and it kept going places I just could not have expected. Written by Bob Shaw and published in 1969, this thing is 50 years old, and while it has some outdated aspects, I still think it holds up really well today.

The story follows Mack Tavernor, an ex-colonel who resigned, and ran away from an intergalactic war between humanity and an alien race with no interest in letting us live—Humanity is losing by a long shot. He lives peacefully in Mnemosyne, a beautiful planet filled with artists and poets, with a sky covered by a shattered moon.

Suddenly, military forces come down to the planet at last, and turn it into their military headquarters, Tavernor ends up involved in the middle of it all, and it all goes on from there.

This is not just a Humanity vs aliens military story, it’s much more than that. I found the writing to be really well done. The first chapter alone ends up with an intriguing turn of events, and it just keeps going from there. I found the characters to be rather believable and intriguing. There are a couple relationships and moments here that can be quite uncomfortable and bizarre for some people—me included. However, they lead to some really interesting stuff later on—it could have probably been written differently but whatever.

I found the science of it all kinda neat, the FTL space travel is has a very important role, as the only technology giving Humanity an advantage over the aliens. There are super computers and AI, you get the news via fax, and other bits of world building here and there that just makes expands this space opera more than I would’ve expected.

The story is still quite concise, and I was very surprised of how things were handled, I kept turning every page and just gasping at the things happening. The book does so much in just a couple of chapters, and not just once. It left my mouth wide open, and I there was some metaphysical stuff on cosmic scale that were just, awesome. This book almost reaches the heights of Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End, if it wasn’t because the ending was kind of abrupt. Both of them are great reads that I enjoyed from start to finish.

This is day 30 of #100DaysToOffload


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