[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "To the edge of the universe" by Erik Morland.]
'To the Edge of the Universe' is written by Erik Morland, an English author currently living in the Netherlands. The book is a science fiction novel which follows the main character Kallad as the focal point. Kallad lives on an incredibly large spaceship called I.D. 84. To give a sense of the size of the spaceship Morland tells us that if it were ever to attempt to land it is so large it would destroy the planet it was landing on. Kallad is a computer programmer who ends up being sent to the unsafe regions of the ship as punishment for what I thought was quite a humorous transgression. Things don't quite go according to plan and Kallad ends up joining forces with a renegade group who call themselves the 'Stormseekers'. The book is set approximately 7.3 trillion years AD and the ship I.D 84 has been travelling steadily through space all this time towards an unknown destination. The 'stormseekers' aren't happy with the ships current direction however and they find themselves at odds with the dictator Master Maxx Miracci.
The book is absolutely packed full of physics, the workings of the Universe and how life comes into existence. Morland presents his theories in such a way that they do indeed seem plausible and correct. There is a particular point about three quarters of the way through the book which is a delight to read for the way it takes the reader through the history and workings of the universe. I was pleased that some of the theories presented early in the novel were revisited and expanded on further in. The story of Kallad and I.D. 84 is a great way for Morland to present his theories and the physics in this novel go hand in hand with the storytelling, overshadowing the story only occasionally.
Kallad is faced with interesting moral dilemmas right from the start of the novel and we can see from the choices he makes the nature of his character. Morland does not really expand on any of the characters however and they seem to almost blend into each other at times without demonstrating personality. I didn't really care much about what happened to the characters at times and the difficulties they faced. A lot of different areas in the ship are described and in places the book lacked the descriptive language to bring these to life in the imagination.
The writing style of the book is fast paced, precise and at times is what I can only describe as abrupt. There is so much packed in that a disservice was done to the plot and exploits of the characters. Events which could have easily been given a chapter were sometimes squeezed into a hurried paragraph. Morland has enough ideas and events in this novel that it could have been turned into a trilogy or even a longer novel with distinct sections. The fast pace of the novel was certainly a negative aspect for me although it may appeal to some readers who want a more timeline approach to their novel.
A serious problem I did encounter was the large quantity of spelling mistakes and wrongly constructed sentences. At times I had to work out sentences and sometimes when words were misspelt it had unfortunate consequences. An example being "...inserted some money in an adjacent slut machine". As I was highlighting and bookmarking any mistakes which I came across while reading this book on my kindle, I noticed there were chapters with a book mark on nearly every page. I would question whether the book had been proof read before publication.
I would compare the ideas and the scope of the book with an Alastair Reynolds novel. The book certainly does not neglect the science part of a science fiction novel and it also demands that we look unflinchingly at the nature of humanity and how our actions now can have consequences lasting trillions of years. I found it very difficult to decide on a rating for this book as I thoroughly enjoyed Morland's ideas and theories but I felt that they were let down by the writing. For anyone beginning to read the book I would say that sticking with it to the end is worthwhile and very rewarding regardless of how you have enjoyed the journey.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars
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