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Experimental literature, done well

By TanaNari, author of Price

Aug 4, 2016: I love fiction that takes the time to think, and rewards readers who do the same. Far Flung is such a story.

It starts with a rather interesting conceit, by telling the story through data logs, which works surprisingly well for such an unusual method.

The author claims Star Trek: Voyager as a source of inspiration, but I find it feels much more like Homeworld and Farscape than it does Voyager. The story’s undertones certainly aren’t as lighthearted, and the science isn’t as fluffy, as most Star Trek series.

The method of storytelling, though unorthodox, is done well via mission logs. In essence, it’s pure info-dump from beginning to end, in a way that reminds me of mission based video games.

The story is chock full of references to important names in space exploration- the first chapter has Clarke (navigator) and Tereshkova (ship). So many that I wonder if some names (Flynn, Holloway, Akiyama, Darya) are obscure selections, or just coincidence. Some part of me suspects every name is a reference, and I’m just not catching some of them.

One thing I can say for certain: this is an author who loves what he’s writing about, and has done a lot of research.

So much so that I’ll forgive him for all of the reports reading like journal entries rather than in the style of formal event logs. Probably better that way, as doing it technical would make for terribly boring reading. Artistic license gets a pass this time.

I could go on, but I’d stumble into spoiler territory. This is an intelligent, well considered science fiction which challenges plays with literary convention in fun and more or less original ways. If you care at all about the genre, it’s a story to read.

The only flaw, such as there is a flaw, is that it’s not a particularly touching story. It is a fascinating, interesting story that is a joy to read, but it’s not a "powerful" story that evokes strong emotion or deep thought on the human condition. High standards, I know, but for I require smart, clever and deep to award the highest marks.

It also transitions into more traditional storytelling later on, which is a bit of a disappointment.

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