Review: Containment

Containment is hard science fiction. In fact some may even say that its more science than fiction. Much of this novel reads like a science textbook from the future.
The cover features a futuristic city scape which has little to do with the actual storyline. The story follows young Arik’s coming of age and induction into the adult world of V1, the first human extra-planetary colony, based on Venus. A select 1000 live within a network of inter-linked buildings and biodomes whose key focus is to ensure that colonisation of Venus and other planets in our system is successfully achieved through solving the biggest asset deficiency, the production of oxygen. They aim to do this by solving how to encourage Artificial Photosynthesis. Arik is part of Gen V, the first 100 young people who were born on V1, the future of humanity no less. Arik is a particular treasure as his is the most capable mind possessed by any human ever born. The problem is that he has recently suffered some kind of accident which has led to a partial lobotomy. The remainder of the story is told by the interspacing the history (our future) of how man came to colonise Venus, Arik’s coming of age and discovery of facts that will change life in V1 forever and his recovery following the partial lobotomy.
The nuts and bolts of the writing, e.g. language, grammar and sentence structure is well put together. The science bits are well-explained to the effect that I kind of understood what was going on, but came in huge info dumps that seem to overawe the storytelling itself. Overall, the plot is a decent one, albeit a little anorexic. Arik is an interesting and likeable fellow, but more as an absent-minded genius rather than hard-boiled sleuth or action man. That said, if you are thinking of writing about colonising other planets, this book makes excellent food for thought. Light reading this is not.

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