4 out of 4 stars
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The sci-fi book Shield Down by William de Berg tells the story of a magnetar threatening the world in the near future and follows many characters and their point of view. One of the main character focuses is a scientist by the name of James Templeton, he is the one who found the magnetar and attempts to warn many communities of the upcoming dangers, however, due to certain ideas hurting his reputation and the reaction of scientific communities like NASA debunking and ignoring his warnings. However, the few who do listen set up vast and complex underground towns, and William de Berg does an amazing job of explaining the sciences behind them.
William de Berg explores many ideas and, following the theme of some of his previous works, also explores many conspiracy theory's in his book. He takes real science to explain the content of his book but spins it to tell an amazing story. This is what I believe defines the science fiction genre as a whole, not just a story exploring space, but exploring how it could actually happen if the rules were only slightly different. And other than the context of the book itself, the writing was well edited and enjoyable to read.
However, Shield Down does handle many topics that may be confusing for a reader who is not looking for an in-depth scientific book. While not enough to hurt its score, the book is very focused on readers who already have some prior knowledge of Sci-fi topics and perhaps even some background in other space-related topics. The beginning of the book throws the reader into a fast exploration of many topics as well, which may be off-putting for a more casual reader. However, despite how fast it may lead into the beginning, William de Berg does an amazing job at handling the information and writing it in a way that flows well with the story he wants to tell, putting certain emphasis on problems the characters have to face.
The book also spans a very wide timespan as I mentioned before, over the course of the late 1900's all the way to the 2200's, all in under 300 pages. At first the time span of the book and how fast it seemed to progress made me question it slightly, however, I was surprised to see just how well William de Burg handled such a long time frame with amazing storytelling and character development. Each character had their own personality, which alters slightly as they age. The characters interacted with each other smoothly and even did a great job of showing some characters past experiences with each other.
Despite the long time frame and the beginning of the book throwing the reader into the story very quickly, I have to give Shield Down by William de Berg a 4 out of 4. The issues were too small for me to take it down to a three, and the book is a perfect example of what the science fiction genre is supposed to mean. The character development and flow of storytelling were handled extremely well and explored many exciting topics.
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