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Saturday, June 20, 2009

"The Solar Sea" by David Lee Summers

"The Solar Sea" by David Lee Summers is a gripping science-fiction novel. Set in the near future, a boy asks his mogul father if he could ever build a solar sail to explore space. The father brushes the little boy off, and he continues to do so as he ages and goes off to MIT. When the boy is older, he puts on the guise of an older engineer and convinces his father to give the go-ahead. Assembling a crew, the main character goes off to many planets in search of a particle that may alter time / dimensions.

Other characters join the story as they are recruited for the mission. Interestingly, a marine biologist who is studying whale communication tags along. She realizes that the whales are communicating with extraterrestrial life (who appear towards the end of the novel in a quite fantastical fashion). Two characters even marry on the ship. The romance is sweet with deep looks into each other's eyes and just the mentioning of a kiss here and there. Summers does not take the low road of many sci-fi writers that insert unnecessary perverseness into plots.

The scientific description is accurate throughout the book. Basic astronomy names are interspersed, and basic physics principles are cited. As for vocabulary, it is pretty straightforward. Younger readers may have to look up a couple words, but they by no means will be constantly running to a dictionary. A thrill for young and old readers alike, "The Solar Sea" is definitely unique.

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