Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Kethani by Eric Brown

It takes an alien race to show us what humanity truly is. This is the irony faced by a group of friends whose lives are changed forever when the mysterious alien race known as the K├ęthani come to Earth bearing a dubious but amazing gift: immortality

Or so sayeth the book blurb. Kethani to me really stands out among the multitude of 'first contact/aliens visit the earth' novels mainly due to it's scope. It doesn't try to focus on the real world ramifications it instead focuses in on a tight group of friends and follows them over the course of Decades. Plus these friends meet in a yorkshire pub which you don't often see in Sci fi.

One day the Kethani arrive, with multiple silver towers appearing all over the earth. They bring with them the gift of immortality a small implant which is placed under the skin of your temple. When you die you are taken to a tower, sent to the Kethani homeworld then return months later, rejuivinated and immortal. But what price does this gift bring? What happens to a world where you can live forever? Are the Kethani all they appear? and do you really come back as the same person who left?

Sensibly the novel doesn't answer all the questions that you want answered which I think makes this novel that much better as in real life you rarely get all the answers, plus not answering the questions leaves you hungry for more.

The novel consists of several smaller stories each focussing on a different friend and shows what happens to religion, morals and science in a world where death is no longer the end of your life on earth. The focus on each of these friends is also good as they are simple ordinary people, not scientists or soldiers, who you can emphasise with and you can almost see yourself in their places facing the problems they face.

I think a really great novel is one that makes you think and keeps you thinking long after you've put it down and Kethani certainly fits that bill.

Highly recommended. Five stars out of five.

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