The Nexus Odyssey by Hylton H. Smith

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Latest Review: "The Nexus Odyssey" by Hylton H Smith

The Nexus Odyssey by Hylton H. Smith

Post by GarySyck » 09 Sep 2012, 13:55

[Following is the official review of "The Nexus Odyssey" by Hylton H Smith.]
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Hylton Smith’s The Nexus Odyssey is a 945 page slog of a read. The story spans four books that start with humanity looking for a new planet to colonise and ends with a meeting between a mysterious master species on a far planet. Smith has jammed the book full of technology and engineering to the point that it is less a story than a report on everything in science, technology and engineering. Unfortunately, getting through this information is like having to grade papers by college sophomores. You know the type – they know far more than they are able to explain clearly.

Lest you are the kind of nerd who is looking forward to all the geeky stuff, don’t get too excited. There are enough errors in the science to make it sound like a political campaign speech. Reading science fiction always requires a bit of suspension of disbelief, but the grounding in real science that makes this genre so interesting is missing in this book.
Like any good story, this book has characters. Far too many of them to keep track are introduced in the first chapter. Then, when you think you know who is who, a new batch comes along to keep you guessing. In at least one case the character changes names, adding to the confusion. This superfluity of personnel includes humans, inorganic Martian symbiots, and a race from another star who are camped on the moon Europa. Keep a chart, because each race interbreeds and gets genetic modifications that create new derivative races.

The Nexus Odyssey is a vehicle for presenting technology and engineering. There are few believable human interactions or motivations. The story gets rolling because Earth is doomed because of over population and environmental destruction. From there, the intrepid people of Earth set off for Mars to create a colony. They face random engineering problems and a thin form of intrigue caused by the tendency of all the characters to keep secrets and sabotage each other. None of these problems lasts very long or inspires clever solutions. The result is a flat story line that bumps from point to point until it gets to the end without having any conclusion.

I gave this book one star out of four based on the flaws in storytelling, character development and poor use of language. I would have put the book down after the first chapter if it weren’t for my obligation to get through it to write this review.

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