The Dark Light Years (Brian Aldiss)

Posted on Thu 02 October 2008 in Rooties Recent Reading

Printed 6 years before I was born, the jacket of this book showed it's age in the second hand bookshop. On the plus side, if it's been kept that long it can't be too bad. There were also several other books by this author which I've found to be a good sign. Lots of old books by the same author seems to mean the stories were successful enough to be printed in large quantities, so that many copies survive to stand tightly packed in the limited shelf space of second hand book shops. I bought this and another couple of them to read over the summer holidays.

Onto the story, and for me this is a classic piece of science fiction. Think of the future as it would develop from now. Imagine it going the way we wouldn't like it to, on a social level. Imagine war pushing the development of space exploration, in a way that only war can create a technology growth spurt. Imagine then discovering intelligent life on another planet. This story eloquently describes this situation, an intelligent extra terrestrial species that mankind isn't intelligent enough to recognise. The book makes you ask a fundamental question; How do you define intelligent?

It's a really good read so perhaps it's not surprising it's still in print. Rootie Rating: 4 out of 5