4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Disruptive technologies always bring equal doses of fear and excitement, but most people underestimate or misunderstand both the benefits and dangers. For example, very few could have predicted the internet's massive role in politics, sometimes as a driver for positive change and sometimes as a wedge dividing people even further. Additionally, where will this current wave of AI-driven automation take us? Will greater productivity improve everyone's lives or widen the gap between the financial elite and the rest of us?
David Mallach's Gravity Divided is a science fiction and thriller novel set in modern times. I have listened to the audiobook version. The story follows the discovery of a new power source, gravitational energy, and its immediate ramifications. Rickey Ormand, Liquid Sky's CEO, has no doubts about his legitimate claim to the discovery and the right to use it, but not everyone shares the sentiment. After all, whoever controls this paradigm-shifting technology can shape the new era as they see fit.
The novel defies straightforward labels with its unusual mix of science fiction, political intrigue, social commentary, and even spirituality. Indeed, the technology itself is nowhere near as important as the doubts it raises. Should this much power be in the hands of a single company? Should we value public interest over private ownership? If so, who decides what the public interest is and how to fulfill it? What makes this a compelling character-driven story is how each of the key players answers these questions differently.
Featuring diverse themes such as the clash between principles and pragmatism, women's standing in society, ownership, and inequality, the book subverts expectations at every turn. For example, the first chapters invoke reverence to the bold, daring innovators who turn dreams into reality, but the story soon starts deconstructing this romantic ideal and displaying the complexities beneath the surface.
Dave Giorgio's soothing narration makes this exceptionally written novel even more immersive as the author parades his wry wit, describes technological wonders, and combines scientific innovation and spiritual language: "Each downstroke of the pounding timpani hits like a slug to the chest. This moment, this music is the manifestation of the raw energy, the unbridled power that has surrounded Rickey Ormand since the bicentennial in Philadelphia." I haven't noticed any errors or technical issues.
Gravity Divided might not appeal to fans of hard sci-fi who prize technical rigor and ingenuity, but readers interested in the human side of things and technology's social impact will find plenty to enjoy. My only complaints are how Rickey and Harry are somewhat underdeveloped as characters, as well as how some scenes drag on for too long without adding anything substantial to the plot. That said, I was engrossed from start to finish despite these issues, so my final rating is 4 out of 4 stars. Readers sensitive to moderate use of profane language and mentions of topics such as rape and suicide should proceed with caution.
View: on Bookshelves