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Book Review: 'The Gravity of the Game'
“Gravity of the Game” is a 2017 science fiction novel by Jon Del Arroz. What are the pros and cons of this scifi book? What is the intended audience of this work, and who would enjoy it?
The Premise behind “The Gravity of the Game”
Hideki Ichiro is a retired baseball player turned baseball commissioner working with others to try to take baseball off world, both to make the sport more profitable for Earth leagues and ensure that the sport stays relevant to humanity as it moves beyond Earth.
Points in Favor of “Gravity of the Game”
Hideki Ichiro is a rich character given the relatively short book. He’s rich but modest, passionate about the sport and eager to help his fans.
It is often the little details that make a world. The arguments people have on high tech enhancements to slow down aging or medical advancements that are taken for granted, the mention of 400 floor skyscrapers that aren’t yet a reality. This book does a good job of communicating the advances in technology without taking up pages to do so.
The end could have been predictably but isn’t. Yet it is still logical and keeps with the theme of the book and intentions of the main characters. The conflict with the second tier Mexican team, for example, doesn’t end up neatly tied up and shoehorned into the ending.
The book is an ideal length, long enough to give you the fleshed out story and details but doesn’t add extra sub-plots that distract from the main plot in an effort to become a full length novel. It also contains some drama without going overboard.
The writing in “The Gravity of the Game” is far better than Mr. Arroz’s earlier work “Star Realms”.
The Cons of “The Gravity of the Game”
If you’re a baseball fan, you’ll love this book. However, you don’t have to be a dedicated baseball fan to enjoy it. You do need at least some understanding of the sport to understand all the references.
Observations about the Book
There are already the famous, established teams the White Sox and Red Sox, so the Mexican team becomes the Verde (Green) Sox. There are little twists like this that make you think throughout the book.
“You’re in Mexico, right? That’s not a long flight to Michigan.” Of course, that’s in a world where Lunar trips are the equivalent to flying to Hawaii.
Baseball league politics comprise a large portion of the text. At least Del Arroz makes it interesting.
A free snippet from “For Steam and Country” is included at the back of the book.
The book is a solid PG. It is written for a broad audience and suitable for children and young adults. I have no problems giving it to my pre-teen son.
I appreciate the book as a return to the optimistic science fiction that seems to have disappeared from the main market. It is hopeful not only for the sport of baseball but the future of humanity as a whole. We need more stories like “The Gravity of the Game”. I give “Gravity of the Game” five stars.