Borrowed Tides by Paul Levinson
Borrowed TidesAaron Schoenfeld met Jack Lument when they were kids in the 1960’s. They grew up, took different paths in scientific and philosophical disciplines, grew older, became eminent in their fields. Now, sixty years later their ideas and dreams bring them back together again. Aaron is working with the head of the space program, Naoma Senzer, to build a spaceship to travel at half light speed to Alpha Centauri.They have enough fuel to get there. They have Jack’s Native American philosophies to help them get back. Naomi thinks they’re crazy. She finally is able to get funding for an unmanned ship manned with robots.
Aaron is well versed in dealing with politicians. Soon he is able to convince her that there has to be at least one person on the ship. Jack was willing to risk his life to take the 16 year round trip voyage. Well, of course Jack can’t go alone. Aaron will go with him. Soon Naomi realizes that the two can’t go alone. By the time they leave, nine people board the ship bound for the nearest star. The five men and four women have multiple skills that will be needed on the trip.
Life goes on, even on a space ship. People argue, people love, people die, and babies are born. By the time they near Alpha Centauri, the crew has changed. Something is odd there. There is an artificial – spaceship? – hanging there dead. They discover a planet they hadn’t seen from Earth. The trajectory they had programmed changed. They’re not sure their slingshot effect or Jack’s theories will work. Will they be able to return to Earth in the 16 year time frame they had projected? Or at all?
Paul Levinson is one of those authors that started as a scientist and non-fiction author. In 2003 he moved to his first fiction novel. I’ve enjoyed each one of them. Borrowed Tides is the only one that leaves Earth and goes into space. Yet even this novel is based on scientific possibilities (see Physics of the Impossible).
Borrowed Tides is interesting but not quite enough. It doesn’t drag, nor does it pick up. It just goes along steadily. I kept expecting more – more characterization and/or more depth. I like the concept, I like the story, and I like the hanging ending. It leaves the reader thinking about the possibilities. The interaction of the characters is usually realistic, occasionally contrived.
Paul Levinson is a writer I like and I hope there’s more coming from him. Borrowed Tides isn’t bad, but it isn’t his best, either.
Notice: Suggestive dialogue or situations