4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Aquarius Rising (Book 1: In the Tears of God) (2014), by Brian Burt, is a 243-page science-fiction novel available as an e-book. It won the 2014 Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition eBook award for science fiction. The novel examines issues such as hubris, hatred, filicide, climate change, artificial intelligence, bioengineering, genetic manipulation, interspecies relationships, the irresponsible use of technology, and the corruptive effect of power. This is the author's first published novel; he has also written two non-fiction books and numerous short stories.
The tale is set on planet earth in the future, 167 years after scientists used nanotech machines in the atmosphere to combat global warming, but instead accelerated it. That event, and the release of a man-made virus that led to the creation of the aquarians, were mainly responsible for shaping the world. Aquarians are human-dolphin hybrids.
The story revolves mainly around Ocypode, a human-aquarian hybrid, but several of his colleagues also have pivotal roles in the narrative. The evil Dr. Bryce leads the Redeemers, a group of humans who seek to use nanotechnology to reduce the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Bryce is hell-bent on accomplishing this as soon as possible, even if it means genocide of the ocean's inhabitants.
Post-apocalyptic novels are often quite depressing, but Aquarius Rising gives us a rich, vibrant undersea world with an intriguing cast of characters which includes humans, fish, dolphins, whales, and numerous mutants and hybrids on land and sea (e.g., a forest of electric kelp, and the fish who thrive there). Even though all the story's organisms are native to planet earth, the variety of creatures should easily satisfy SF fans who crave tales featuring exotic aliens.
The author greatly enhances the story's realism by providing plentiful details regarding the characters' environment, along with their thoughts, hopes, dreams, fears, etc. Mr. Burt also presents many scientific details regarding the technology of the time, placing this novel clearly in the "hard SF" category. However, he doesn't go overboard; his focus remains squarely on the characters.
This first-rate book has easily earned 4 out of 4 stars. The author writes clearly and concisely, and keeps the story moving at a good pace while peeking into the minds of various bizarre lifeforms. He gives us plenty of subplots and supporting characters without creating confusion. The grammar is impeccable. There is no drab filler material. The tension builds steadily, leading to a final showdown and a satisfying ending. As an added bonus, he refrains from using profanities and graphic sex, making the novel suitable for young readers.
This novel should gratify nearly all SF fans and readers interested in intelligent oceanic beings. However, even if you don't ordinarily read SF, there's a good chance you will enjoy this stirring imaginative story.
Aquarius Rising Book 1: In the Tears of God
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon | on Barnes and Noble | on iTunes
Like Kappy's review? Post a comment saying so!