THE HEART OF THE COMET by by David Brin and Gregory Benford

Comet   Got your thermals and booties on?   Because in this hard science sci fi tale we are transported to, of all places, Halley’s Comet, which as you all know, is made of ice.  And chunks of dirt and space schmutz.

What a wonderful story, and the science was spot on, especially cool since this book was written in 1986 by two award winning authors of sci fi.    You know, there is science, and there is fiction and not always are they melded together in a way that is fun, compelling and scientifically plausible.

Here’s the deal.  Have you ever read that plagues and diseases may have been brought to earth by passing comets?   That within a comet’s body may reside viruses, bacterias, fungii and things that go bump in the night?  OK, things that go scritch in the night?   And that these passengers might, just might, jump off their A train as it whizzes past the station of Earth to grab a burger, thereby infecting our otherwise pristine planet?  Yeah, me neither.

The idea was for a crew to ride a comet, change its course to connect with an asteroid or something and mine that body for its resources.  And this book is about what happens when they do.

My sweetie liked it because two people die within the first few pages.  Always a good start, wouldn’t you say?  The overarching story is a comment on racism,  and the core nature of man, ethics of genetic engineering, and cloning.

Some people consider this a very dark work.  For me, not so much.  But then, I tend to read these kinds of books for the science and how authors perceive the future.

I would love to discuss more of the plot but then, that would take away your pleasure in discovering the surprises for yourself.    I will just say that it is a sci fi book written about 35 years ago that doesn’t feel dated.


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