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Search the Sky

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Imagine a world where humans have colonized the stars, yet planets are declining, and colonies are isolated. That’s the setting for the satirical science fiction novel, “Search the Sky,” by Fredrik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth, a story that centers around Ross, the main protagonist sent to investigate the other colonies. Ross is given access to a spacecraft that can make each journey almost instantly. The technology had been kept secret because of the risk of interstellar war, yet the isolated colonies that Ross encounters suffer from a lack of genetic diversity, resulting in a decline in their societies.

The creative collaboration between the authors is worth noting, as they published seven novels and 30 to 40 short stories together. They would talk about a situation and characters before writing anything down, then flip a coin to see who would write the first four pages, using what they called the “Hot-Typewriter System” to keep the story flowing. They would work day and night, without breaks, until the novel was complete.

“Search the Sky” has been criticized for its episodic structure and the lack of motivation for its protagonist. However, the episodic structure is essential to the core plot of the novel, and its conclusion would not be as powerful without it. As for Ross’s motivation, he is tired of his mundane job and the meaningless life he leads. His desire to escape is realistic and relatable.

Overall, “Search the Sky” is an underrated classic of the science fiction genre. It provides a compelling storyline that is both satirical and thought-provoking. The audiobook version (narrated by my brother, James Gibson) is highly recommended for those who want to immerse themselves in this world.

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