Blue Remembered Earth
Ace Books, 2012
|Series:||Poseidon's Children: Book 1|
1. Blue Remembered Earth
|Sub-Genre Tags:||Hard SF|
|Avg Member Rating:||
One hundred and fifty years from now, in a world where Africa is the dominant technological and economic power, and where crime, war, disease and poverty have been banished to history, Geoffrey Akinya wants only one thing: to be left in peace, so that he can continue his studies into the elephants of the Amboseli basin. But Geoffrey’s family, the vast Akinya business empire, has other plans. After the death of Eunice, Geoffrey’s grandmother, erstwhile space explorer and entrepreneur, something awkward has come to light.
Eunice’s ashes have already have been scattered in sight of Kilimanjaro. But the secrets she died with are about to come back out into the open, and they could change everything.
“And I am dumb to tell a weather’s wind
How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.”
— Dylan Thomas
It is necessary to speak of beginnings. Understand one thing, though, above all else. Whatever brought us to this moment, this declaration, could never have had a single cause. If we have learned anything, it’s that life is never that simple, never that schematic.
You might say it was the moment when our grandmother set her mind to her last great deed. Or that it started when Ocular found something worthy of Arethusa’s attention, a smudge of puzzling detail on a planet circling another star, and Arethusa in turn felt honour bound to share that discovery with our grandmother.
Or that it was Hector and Lucas deciding that the family’s accounts could not tolerate a single loose end, no matter how inconsequential that detail might have looked at the time. Or the moment Geoffrey was called out of the sky, torn from his work with the elephants, drawn back to the household with the news that our grandmother was dead. Or his decision to confess everything to Sunday, and her choice that, rather than spurning her brother, she should take the path of forgiveness.
You might even say that it goes back to the moment in former Tanzania, a century and a half ago, when a baby named Eunice Akinya took her first raw breath. Or the moment that followed a heartbeat later, when she bellowed her first bawling cry, heralding a life of impatience. The world never moved quickly enough for our grandmother. She was always looking back over her shoulder, screaming at it to keep up, until the day it took her at her word.
Something made Eunice, though. She may have been born angry, but it was not until her mother cradled her under the stillness of a Serengeti night, beneath the cloudless spine of the Milky Way, that she began to grasp for what was forever out of reach.
All these stars, Eunice. All these tiny diamond lights. You can have them, if you want them badly enough. But first you must be patient, and then you must be wise.
And she was. So very patient and so very wise. But if her mother made Eunice, what shaped her mother ? Soya was born two centuries ago, in a refugee camp, at a time when there were still famines and wars, droughts and genocides. What made her strong enough to gift this force of nature to the world, this child who became our grandmother?
We didn’t know it then, of course. If we considered her at all, it was mostly as a cold, forbidding figure none of us had ever touched or spoken to in person. Looking down on us from her cold Lunar orbit, isolated in her self-erected prison of metal and jungle, she seemed to belong to a different century. She had done great and glorious things – changed her world, left an indelible human mark on others – but those were deeds committed by a much younger woman, one with only a distant connection to our remote, peevish and dis- interested grandmother. By the time we were born her brightest and best days were behind her.
So we thought.
Copyright © 2012 by Alastair Reynolds
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