Reviews of Gravity Dreams (1999)
Review by clong (2005-07-05)
First, I want to say that I thought this was much better written than Dawn for a Distant Earth. I found both the characters and the setting more believable.
And yet I still have mixed feelings about Gravity Dreams. After an engaging opening, I felt that the second and third sections dragged, with the pace of the plot only picking up again in the fourth section.
The things I liked most about this book were: its intriguing concept and descriptions of FTL spaceflight (and what it takes to be a “space jockey”), its focus on the economic and social implications of its future world vision, and some thought provoking issues around the long term impact of nanotechnology. Modesitt also raised some interesting issues around the psychological impact of man's confrontation with a more powerful, more advanced alien being.
On the other hand, while I found Tyndel reasonably believable, I can't say he appealed to me much as a character. I found his long period of refusing the opportunity to be a pilot, only to change his mind after an important plot development, to be monotonous and not-terribly convincing. To the substantial extent that this book is about Tyndel thinking about reality, truth, honesty, etc., I just didn’t find it truly compelling. I also found his slow, cool courting of Cerrelle to be a snooze.
So on balance, I guess I would say that this is a big improvement over Dawn for a Distant Earth, but still not really my cup of tea.