Thank you so much to my friends at Putnam who sent me a gorgeous finished copy of Providence, a sci-fi thriller written by Max Barry. I’ve never read anything by this author, and I usually don’t like science fiction, but I was excited to give this a shot.
This takes place in the future, after a crew of astronauts have made contact with extraterrestrials, who eventually earn the nickname ‘salamanders.’ The salamanders seem to attack the astronauts, leading the world to come together and foment an all-out war against these creatures.
A few years later, the war against the salamanders has drained billions of dollars from the world’s economy, and people are getting bored and want to pull out of the war. A new crew is sent to essentially hype up what’s going on out there. Talia, Anders, Gilly, and Jackson are sent on a mission on an artificially intelligent ship called the Providence Five, confined in close quarters with each other for at least three years. All have a role — human relations and weaponry, to name a few — and all have their secrets.
The book was thrilling and fast-paced. I really enjoyed it, despite not understanding the majority of the science. I thought the characters were well-written and the premise was super interesting. I thought there were good themes throughout — who gets to decide which civilization has rights, being one big take-away for me.
It was a bit too-far fetched for me, as I like realistic fiction. However, I understand that that’s what science-fiction is: things that are totally out-there and unrealistic. If you’re looking for a fast-paced space thriller with some excellent characters, I’d suggest checking it out!