Lavanya Karthik: Lavanya is from Mumbai, India and is a licensed
architect and consultant in environmental management. She lives in
Mumbai with her husband and six-year old daughter. She loves reading
and enjoys a diverse range of authors across genres.
Author: George Karnikis
The word Anastrophe, derives from the Greek word for turning things around, and that is what this ambitious novel envisions for a planet ravaged by environmental degradation and the indiscriminate use of nuclear power.
The story starts with Nick, a young palaeoastrophysicist on a fishing trip in the present day, getting transported accidentally to the 25th century. There he discovers that the widespread use of nuclear power has led to dangerous levels of radiation that threaten mankind in the future. Probes sent ahead into the 30th century, reveal that Earth will also be engaged in a losing battle with an alien civilization from a distant planet. Unable to return to his family, Nick agrees to join a team of robots and humans that will travel across time, and between planets, to confront the various threats to planet Earth - this being Project Anastrophe.
The book then charts the adventures of the team as they proceed on their mission. They are repeatedly challenged in their efforts by a team sent by a cartel of powerful industrialists from the 25th century, in a bid to control fuel supplies and ensure their dominance over Earth and Mars.
This is a lengthy and complex plot, involving romance, time travel, action, hostile aliens, artificial intelligence, and war. The prose is uneven at times, and does not always do justice to the many action scenes throughout the book. It even begins in the first person, before inexplicably moving to the third person for the rest of the book, a device that left me confused. The author's vision for the future of the planet does have some interesting details - human settlements inside radiation-proof biospheres, the complete absence of fossil fuel powered transportation, universal access to humanoid robot servants. Another interesting possibility explored is love between two such robots. Some concepts I found troubling, however, such as mind manipulation through the use of brain implants, strict limits on the number of children allowed per family, and the reduction of children to their DNA. I would have liked to see some discussion of the ethical issues involved here. Further, I would have liked to see some elaboration on concepts like new energies and fuels, especially as we live in a world where nuclear power is itself considered a cleaner alternative power source than conventional fossil fuels.
Overall, a novel vision of Earth's future, with a clear message for environmental protection.
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