Monday, December 21, 2009

Book Review: Probability Moon by Nancy Kress

I finally got around to another Nancy Kress book on my shelf that's been sitting there for a few months, being periodically renewed from the library. I've had so much to read lately (which is great!) that I've been juggling what needs to be read next for book group with what's due next, only occasionally picking out one that's been sitting there longer than it should or one that just calls to me.

I wasn't too far into Probability Moon when I realized that I'd read it before, but long enough ago that I didn't really remember things until they happened. Then, though, I did remember and I think it lessened my enjoyment. I think I'd have appreciated it more if it were all new. There are two more in the series of probability titles that I'm sure I haven't read, so perhaps I'll see.

Probability Moon is the story of a mission within a mission. On the surface of things, the mission is to go to World, a newly discovered inhabited planet, to study the people there. The theory is that most people on most planets came from a common stock that, for some reason, was dispersed by an unknown agent, because most people are pretty humanoid, differing only slightly from us humans. To get around to these different planets, we use worm holes, also left behind, after discovering one near Mars.

So, a group of scientists goes to study World, where the inhabitants all "share reality." Those that don't are killed and prevented from decaying, which would sour the after world. They share reality by getting headaches when their world view differs from those around them. Humans don't have this mechanism, obviously, and must hide it from the Worlders so as not to be killed, but they are fascinated by it and want to learn more. Of course, they can't just ask because that would reveal the fact that they don't "share reality."

Meanwhile, the real reason behind the mission is lurking overhead, unbeknownst to those on the planet. One of the moons of World is a manufactured object, made by the same beings who made the worm holes. Another team of scientists and military types are trying to figure out what it does. They suspect it's a weapon of some sort, which could greatly aid them in the war with the Fallers, the only non-humanoid race that has been discovered and who have refused all contact with us other than violence.

Like most Kress books, I found the premise to be very interesting, but didn't so much love the characters. I was entertained, but not enthralled. I give Probability Moon a 7.5.

1 comment:

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