Critical Mass

Dutton. (Delta-V, Bk. 2). Jan. 2023. 464p. ISBN 9780593183632. $28. SF
Suarez’s follow-up to Delta-V describes a world in which science helps humanity rise above its petty political squabbles to enter an exciting new space age, where the bounty of the heavens can solve problems much closer to home. The novel is set on a near-future Earth, struggling with a changing climate and dwindling resources. The crew of the Konstantin comes back from space after successfully mining an asteroid that could potentially offer a wealth of new material. But a visionary scientist has a bold plan to instead use the material and energy resources to jumpstart the planet’s space efforts. Tensions build as the crew becomes embroiled in the politics that threaten to keep humanity trapped under increasingly fraught conditions on Earth. The book gives a fascinating look at how the challenge of space exploration will meet the realities of a politically divided world. It will appeal to audiences who have wondered how humanity can ever hope to explore space, given the political and environmental problems holding us back.
VERDICT This is a fantastic tech-minded sci-fi in the vein of Kim Stanley Robinson.
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