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The Crack Magazine


The Flight of the Aphrodite by Simon Morden

In his previous three “hard” science fiction novels, Morden has taken readers to those explorable, exploitable regions of our own solar system that might just offer refuge to a humanity. Though Flight of the Aphrodite references those earlier books, it’s effectively a stand-alone narrative. Earth is now slipping fast into climatic and political chaos, but that’s a long way off for the crew of a research ship circling Jupiter. Each locked in their own struggles with memory, motivation and ambition, they are playing out an end-game in which their mission might be utterly irrelevant or the key to survival. This is a brilliant account of personalities set adrift in a claustrophobic microcosm of building tension. As decisions about their mission become more vital, the possibility of making them on any sound, unbiased basis drifts further away, not helped by the discovery that there may be more to the planet’s history, and perhaps future, than ever suspected. GNA