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As they scramble up to take shelter in a rough cave above the valley floor, those watching the melt-down find that survival will mean resurrecting the ancient technology and forgotten skills of their Paleolithic ancestors. If dodging the lurking predators isn't hard enough, soon they discover the uninhabited planet they are marooned on, isn't exactly uninhabited. Nakis has not provided the home they had willingly traded their old lives for. They have been reduced to foraging for subsistence. No strength, no defenses and now: powerful, potential enemies waiting in the darkness.
If lasting peace with the native humanoid species eventually comes, it will not be without incidents that try their empathic hosts' patience. Rigid, bunker-mentality and religious stubbornness prevails among many of the original mission founders and a growing anger emerges that may doom the human colony. But a breakthrough cooperative experience binds them all together in a completely unexpected way from a source no one considered. Will this illuminate their path to finally finding the home they had hoped for, or will it drive a deeper and darker wedge between them and the Naku?
Posted March 25, 2013
I don't get to read a huge amount of fiction any more, which is why it is particularly enjoyable when I do. At the moment I'm drifting back towards science fiction, which I had abandoned for quite a while, and had an enjoyable weekend with Richard Sutton's Home.
I thought to start with this was going to be a typical 'stranded in space/revert to savages' type novel, but in fact Home is much more about what it is to be human, and what it would be like to be dependent on a largely superior race. As someone brought up on Star Trek, I thought Sutton's humanoid and interbreeding aliens were very reminiscent of the Star Trek humanoid universe, complete with its explanation of early shared origins - and I don't say this as a bad thing.
Home is a gentle, enjoyable read. If anything it could have done with a bit more menace, but because a lot of it is about inner exploration (I was slightly reminded of Heinlein's early inward looking phase, before he got too self-indulgent), this isn't a problem.
Without giving too much away, there was one puzzling development when a major character is killed off for no obvious reason, and I question the aspect where the humans discover they have something to offer after all, when their hosts are found to have a great appreciation for a human skill that they never developed themselves - I think if they had such appreciation, they would have accidentally discovered it long before. But these are nit-picking problems (it's a rule, my reviews always have to have a quick nit-pick) - and overall this was a very enjoyable book, that would appeal to anyone who likes thoughtful science fiction.