A science fiction romp inside the Dyson Sphere
It is often worth rummaging around the Lifeline book sales for decent science fiction at a reasonable price. We believe that the going rate for a novel at the moment is around $2.50 if you are not looking for the latest blockbuster. This brings us to the extensive range of Star Trek novels that are always on offer at the jumble sale. Star Trek novels represent value as the characters are well established, the story universe is broad and the quality of the stories tend to be quite good.
Dyson Sphere is No. 50 in the Star Trek: The Next Generation universe. Captain Jean-Luc Picard works with the silicon-based life forms, the Horta, to conduct an archaeological dig of the Dyson Sphere. This is no so much a character based story as an adventure on a grand scale. The troubling aspect of an invading Dyson Sphere is the scale; it's just too vastmankind appears insignificant by comparison. Neutron Stars are flung through the universe, large suns slam into immeasurable oceans and sentient ocean based life forms working together with self-aware rock machines to escape an inter-dimensional nightmare. In the end the reader is left to dwell on the mysterious Dyson Sphere builders and their possible galactic war with the Borg.
The troubling aspect of an invading Dyson Sphere is the scale; it's just too vastmankind appears insignificant by comparison.
Good science fiction examines alternative possibilities and technologies to find new ways for telling a compelling story. Many classic sci-fi writers claim that this is half the fun of storytelling. Unfortunately, many writers focus on obvious humanoid variations or interactions between species. Very few writers can re-imagine new worlds constructed beyond living on spaceships and space-boulders. This is where the Dyson Sphere comes in. Whole worlds clustered into a flying spaceship to escape the shackles of their former thermodynamic limitations. You may consider Dyson Spheres to be futuristic arks inhabited by countless lifeforms. Very few stories focus on exotic planets. And this is what makes the novel so exciting.
We love the concept of Dyson Spheres but, ultimately, they have not taken off as a story telling vehicle. It is easy to suggest that Dyson Spheres are seen as a product of the Star Trek: The Next Generation universe. We think that the roots of the problem are dug deep in how they have been used as a vehicle for storytelling. ST:TNG Dyson Sphere is a story on an ultimate scale, however, there is very little if the what-if, or alternative reality, that the reader can connect to. How is the reader expected to engage in deciding what who is just and who is evil when the builders of the Dyson Sphere are never revealed? The action in this book then becomes a warp speed sugar rush.
Overall, we give this book three Angry Aliens™.