Friday, January 2, 2015

Book Review: The Steps of the Sun by Walter Tevis

The Steps of the Sun By Walter Tevis

Paperback, 259 pages

Published February 3rd 1985 by Berkley (first published 1983)

I picked up this book for a buck at goodwill in Portland and I’m glad I did. Walter Tevis was a bestselling author back in the day known for classics of genre and straight fiction. His most well known work was the novel that the classic Paul Newman film the Hustler was based on. He also wrote a sequel The Color of Money and the classic science fiction novel The Man Who Fell to Earth. I read The Hustler for a class in college and always meant to read his science fiction. I always respected that he was an author who had both genre success as well as lit fiction cred. This was a time after all where the genre ghetto was even more serious than today.

I don’t think I enjoyed this novel as much as the concept. I love out of date science fiction which often tell you a lot about the time when it was written. The back cover describes a dystopian post ecological collapse earth that sounded interesting to me. The structure of the novel is such that we really don’t see that setting until the second half and not nearly as much as I would like. That setting is perhaps one of my favorites.

The story of Ben Belson an aging billionaire who in the midst of a world ending energy crisis buys a interstellar spaceship to find new sources of nuclear power. For a book written 1983 his vision of the future is an interesting one. He focused a lot on a gas/oil crash. There is some interesting things about a more dominant China that I thought he nailed.

The setting on Belson the world Ben names for himself is very interesting and well realized. Once back on earth the book felt a little less lived in ironically enough. There is more action and adventure but the plot just didn’t seem as well thought out. None the less an interesting read, and I will check out more Tevis science fiction.

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