A Legend Of The Future by Augustin de Rojas (book review)

August 6, 2015 | By | Reply More

This is the first time any of Augustin de Rojas’ books have been available in English and with its bold cover (just look at those colours!) and intriguing premise, it is a book I was eager to try.

ALegendOfTheFuture

Set largely on board the spaceship Sviatagor, ‘A Legend Of The Future’ follows the ship’s crew as they return to Earth after visiting Titan. The outbound trip went well but, as disaster strikes on the return journey, we follow the crew through grief, panic and desperation as they face one catastrophe after another. Determined to get the ship home, the crew must overcome their emotions and be willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to complete the mission. With their lives in peril and the ship in disarray, the cost of returning home might higher than any of them imagined.

The prologue of ‘A Legend Of The Future’ is one of the most confusing pieces of text I’ve ever read and, if it hadn’t been a review copy, I may not have continued on to the end of the book. It was disjointed, frantic and I frankly hadn’t got a clue what was going on. Thankfully, things do become clearer as the book progresses!

After that mess of a prologue (without which I don’t think the book would have lost much), the book is divided into two very distinct parts. The first follows the crew immediately after the spaceship has been hit by a meteorite as they try to determine a plan of action to save the ship and make it home to Earth. Although much better than the prologue, it took a while to settle into the writing style of this section. It was made particularly difficult as thoughts and speech were written in exactly the same way, so it was tricky disentangling internal monologue and external dialogue. It became easier as the characters developed but I think a little editorial interference here could have made things much easier on the reader.

The story itself is quite interesting and throws a up a few good futuristic science points to ponder. The most memorable of these involves mental conditioning that can be activated to turn off all emotions within an individual, rendering them highly functional and almost computer-like in nature. This, in the story, was designed to be used in emergencies, particularly following highly distressing situations such as the death of fellow crew members. It’s a concept that certainly gives you pause for thought. Could it be done? Should it be done? There’s plenty to ponder here in terms of both scientific and moral issues.

The second half of the book occurs after the crew have embarked on their plans and switches between memories of their training together and the present reality on board the Sviatagor. I found this to be a much easier section to read. Even with the time jumps, it felt more coherent than the earlier parts of the book. It was nice to get some back story and it all flowed quite nicely between the two time periods, although I still didn’t feel like there was much connection to the world that existed outside the spaceship. The global political background is mentioned in the blurb, but hardly appears at all within the story.

In the end, I think I’d say this was an interesting read, but not a hugely enjoyable one. I’m not sure if that’s because it doesn’t translate well or whether it just wasn’t something I could relate to. I couldn’t engage with the characters and found the plot a little too jumpy for my tastes, but I still found it thought-provoking and really liked the ending, which was a redeeming feature for me. I’d be keen to read some more of Rojas’ work and in fact, doing a little research, this seems to be the second part in a trilogy he wrote, which could explain some of the disjointedness. It’s lovely to see this translated into English as it comes from a completely different background to most of the English language Science Fiction that’s available and I look forward to reading more of Restless Books’ Cuban Science Fiction series in the future.

Vinca Russell

July 2015

(pub: Restless Books. 240 page paperback. Price:£10.56 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-63206-035-8) Out: 06 August 2015

check out website: www.restlessbooks.com

Category: Books, Scifi

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