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The Invasion of Venus by Stephen Baxter

Updated on January 27, 2018

The Invasion of Venus by Stephen Baxter

The Invasion of Venus by Stephen Baxter

So I’m reading another tale out of the Twenty-ninth Edition of The Year’s Best Scifi because I just been so busy, I haven’t been reading a lot lately And the story this time around is a random pick; another symptom of my indecisiveness. And the story being reviewed this time is called The Invasion of Venus by Stephen Baxter.

The tale focuses on Tobey, an unlikely American man who works in the higher ups of the British government, who have been watching aliens who are travelling toward Earth with what is suspected to be an invasion. When the new breaks to the work, Tobey goes to see a former college sweetheart to clear his head. Like him they both worked toward science degrees but she had a sort of awakening half way through college, becoming more fascinated with the unknown, metaphysical , and god. Her world view provides a sort of clarity he needs as the world seems to be going insane. At the end of a long conversation, he tells her the truth that the papers got it wrong. They aren’t invading Earth, they’re invading Venus. Some days later when Edith accesses a telescope to view the invasion and Tobey decides to help. But with growing civil unrest and protests, things turn for the worse.

The good? It’s different. It reflects how our society could easily crumble from religious perspectives, from views of science, and just the common person who throws away hope. And I feel this story tries to tackle the human condition in crisis oppose to some otherworldly tale.

The bad? Though I do applaud the story for its theme on how society reacts to the existence of aliens. But I feel it does so badly. They touch on it, but don’t give them enough substance. And that is the biggest problem. The story is so short and so rushed it feels to properly explore the themes, give depth to the lead characters and there is an action scene that is glossed over so quickly it’s just referred to as the “event” in a single line. Which is sad because I see so much potential with this story.

Overall, this story is not good. It’s not bad. It’s just bland. It’s just so bland when it shouldn’t be. The author could have expanded it and made something really great. This is just the definition of wasted potential. So if you stumble across it, it worth a look. Otherwise, don’t bother looking for it.

Overall Rating: A Tale of Aliens, Religions, Science, and a Lot of Wasted Potential

2 smoothies out of Four

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