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Reviewed in Australia on 17 August 2021
The premise is that “astrophages” are gobbling up the sun, so earth puts out a concerted multinational effort to send a mission to the star that seems unaffected. The aim is to find out why and send the information back to a failing earth. The novel begins with an astronaut waking up from the coma he’s been in and goes on to describe a wild ride as he makes contact with another life form on the same mission interspersed with flashbacks of how the earth mission came to be. This part is done very well. A ruthless, determined woman leads it. The astronaut is narrating, mostly in the jaunty voice of a puppyish teenager. There’s lots of science in this book which is mostly interesting but at about 85% became wearing: just get on with the story already. A lot of it - and especially the degree of equipment on the Hail Mary - seems too good to be true, but whatever. Tired of all the setbacks and the ingenious solutions, I speed read to the ending, which is good. The plot is good, the psychology pretty sound and many will be fascinated by all the dilemmas and how they’re solved but to me it read rather like a (admittedly sophisticated) boys own adventure story for tech heads.
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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
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