- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
From Barnes & NobleA World Inside
Robert Reed is one of the most genuinely visionary science fiction authors working in the field today. In his latest effort, Marrow, Reed returns with a vivid setting to tell the innovative, complex, and engaging tale of a violently primitive world alive within the center of a wondrous starship. With a dauntless amount of ingenuity, the author winds elements of space travel, genetic manipulation, social upheaval, and the mastery over mortality into a cohesive plot, tightening these elements into a finely-meshed tale. Robert Reed, a skillful craftsman at establishing a real sense of uneasiness, constantly expands on the surprising revelations arising throughout what may be his most ambitious novel to date.
When a starship the size of Jupiter appears in the solar system, mankind quickly boards and begins to study and map out its enormity. The ship appears to have been abandoned, and its function and builders are unknown. It soon becomes a galactic habitat, continuing through space and accepting thousands of new species to colonize portions of its vast interior. The ship's human captains, who are soon made immortal through newfound technology, oversee the alien cultures for thousands of centuries. The enigmatic Master Captain rules over the entirety of ship, with her Submaster Miocene at her side. When Miocene and 200 other captains receive cryptic instructions from the Master, they clandestinely retreat to a remote portion of the ship and soon learn a crucial secret that's billions of years old.
Marrow is a concealed world hidden in an enormous chamber at the heart of the ship. The captains build a bridge to the planet's volcanic surface, but after the bridge is destroyed by a mysterious event, the group is left stranded. After years of waiting for rescue, they fear that either the Master has abandoned them or that everyone else aboard Ship is dead. There, on Marrow, they learn to live in the harsh environment and build a new society, hoping that the planet's slight expansion every year will eventually allow them to climb back "upstairs" to the main chamber. After centuries on the planet's surface, the world is split into two distinct communities: those of the captains and their loyalists, and those of the Waywards, the captains' children and descendants led by Miocene's own son, Till, a mystical leader who believes he is the reincarnation of Ship's builders.
Once again, as with his earlier novel An Exaltation of Larks, Reed toys with the concept of longevity, stretching lives to the limits of immortality. Reed's characters are wholly credible, with a depth that makes each of them a significant part of the greater whole of this enticing world. With a great concentration to the finest details, Reed manages to provide an absorbing, thought-provoking story that takes questions of our existence in the universe and presents them as a unique blend of science fiction, culture shock, and suspense. Well-wrought characterization is difficult for a novel that covers millennia, but Reed understands how to draw the story arc into an exciting mixture of personal responsibility, parable, action, and allegory. In Marrow, Reed knows exactly how to present the reader with an intricate series of thoughtful and emotional explorations of humanity that will keep the reader thoroughly engrossed.
Reed's strengths as a storyteller lie in his ability to take the reader smoothly from fantastical elements and offbeat social ideology to astonishing science fiction in an inviting manner. He freely toys with Marrow, so that its convincing contrivance underscores his slowly rebuilt culture perfectly. The Wayward children are an added mysterious ingredient that always comes into play in the most surprising ways. Marrow, is a fine addition to a powerful body of work that is already filled with captivating, audacious, and fascinating novels.