Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Splinter by Adam Roberts

According to the spiel on the Solaris website Splinter is a thought-provoking science fiction novel about faith, disaster and alien intelligence by one of the new masters of the genre.

When Hector discovers his father has channelled the family fortune into a bizarre cult who await the imminent destruction of the Earth, he is wracked by feelings of betrayal and doubt. Things change, however, the night an asteroid plummets from space and shatters the planet, leaving Hector and the remnants of the human race struggling for survival on a splinter of the earth.

Now the High ‘concept’ part of this novel is that it is spilt into three sections and each section is used in a different tense. The first section is written in the past tense, the 2nd in the present tense and the third section is written in the future tense. I had high hopes for this novel when I sat down to read it as lots of people had described it as 'high concept' but I ran into a problem.

I didn’t get it.

I found the switch between tenses very confusing and I’m not the only one. After a quick search of the net I found that based on most peoples opinions this is a ‘marmite book’. In the sense of you’ll love it or you’ll hate it, or to put it another way you’ll either get it or you won’t. There does not seem to be a middle ground with this book.

Despite this the central idea behind the story is a strong one and if you can get past the tense changes and ‘get it’ you’ll probably find it a good read.

I’ll give it two out of five but that’s only because I didn’t get it.

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