Augustine, a brilliant ageing scientist, is fascinated by the stars. For years he has scanned the universe, trying to quantify infinity, to find that first moment in history. When news of a catastrophic event arrives at the remote research centre in the Arctic Circle where he works, he elects to stay behind. But shortly after the last airlift departs, Augustine discovers a child - Iris. She rarely speaks but hums an eerie tune.
In spite of the observatory's state-of-the-art equipment, Augustine is unable to establish contact with the outside world; all communication has gone dark.
Time means very little in deep space. Mission Specialist Sullivan, a divorced astronaut and mother, is aboard the Aether on its return flight from Jupiter. They are the first human beings to delve this deep into space, and it has changed the crew.
At last Sully feels at peace with the sacrifices she has made, a tiny and intrinsic piece of a universe beyond her comprehension. But suddenly, inexplicably, the Aether loses all contact with Mission Control.
In a vacuum of information, the crew must determine the best course of action. Faced with the cold, barren sweep of the Arctic and the vast silence of space, what will they do next, and how will they survive?
©2016 Lily Brooks-Dalton (P)2016 Orion Publishing Group Limited
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"Desolation and recriminations at the end of time"
Two plots linked by a thread and a device so big it swallows the stories into insignificance an banality. You have the end of the human race of an unknown and unexplained cause, a spaceship returning to earth, and astronomer at the end of his days living in a scientific outpost far from what ever happened to the world, the crew on the ship have received no contact from earth and are worried, Mission Specialist Sullivan a mother of one questions her decision to travel in space while her daughter grows up without a mother, Augustine the earth survivor has similar concerns but the earth is dead or dying so how important are these concerns? What is the point of ruminations of domestic matters, when everything is lost or seems to be?
The stories are well written but have no power because they are miniscule and trivial against the canvas of eternal space and the end of humanity and probably life on earth. The author insist on focusing on the past and the regrets of this two characters while the biggest question goes unanswered. A missed opportunity, that feels empty and pointless.
The readers are good and present the story well.
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