by Arthur C Clarke
The biggest mystery about this book is why I haven’t read it yet. First published in 1986, “Songs of Distant Earth” is a traditional Science Fiction book, in that it deals with concepts and technologies that are understandable and achievable.
With the Sun due to go Nova, mankind must find a new home if it is to survive. They do this by sending colony ships out into space, aimed at colonising likely looking planets in neighbouring systems. But with journey times running in the hundreds of years, each of these outposts will be very much on their own.
The last ship to leave Earth is the Magellan. Its crew leave behind a world on the verge of destruction. There is no way back. Five hundred years into their journey, and needing to make repairs to the ship, they make planetfall at Thalassa, one of the first planets to be colonised. AT first Thalassa seems like a paradise. Certainly the locals are friendly and welcome their fellow human beings with open arms and support. But things soon start to change. Relationships between locals and the Magellan crew put strains on the relationship between the two very different populations. And there is also the question of the native alien population. Are they seeing the first signs of intelligence?
Arthur C Clark had a reputation for sticking to foreseeable technologies. There are no warp drives or transporter beams here, just good old fashioned story telling based on science that can be explained and understood.
An excellent book worthy of any decent sci-fi enthusiasts book shelves. It is definitely one to hold on to and read again. A five-star read.