DARK AS DAY
Publication date March 2002
Dark As Day succeeds primarily because of its interesting characters and fast-moving
plotline. Which is about the most that can be said for any novel.
The Great War
has come and gone, sweeping through the Solar System and killing more than half
of humanity. Most of the damage was done by the terrible bioweapons formulated
by both sides.
conflict is long over by the last years of the 21st century, not all of the
weapons have been recovered and neutralized. Since the war ended, much effort
has been put into the creation and deployment of the Seine, an immense computer
network that will link all databases throughout the solar system. On Ganymede,
Alex Ligon, scion of a fabulously weathly family, is eager for the link to occur.
Disdaining his family's wealth, he has chosen to pursue mathematics, his first
love. His job is to formulate models of the future for economic and social forecasting.
All of his conventional models, however, predict the relatively sudden extinction
of humanity in about a century's time. Alex is hoping that the Seine's increased
capabilities can show him where his models are going wrong, because obviously
such predictions can't be true.
the Jovian system, in a station at the L4 point, young astronomer Milly Wu has
come to work for the Argus Project. Argus is administered by Jack Beston, the
Ogre as he is not so fondly known to his employees, one of two brothers running
competing SETI projects. It's Milly's luck to be the one who identifies what
appears to be a genuine signal from extraterrestrials.
Earth itself, Jan Jannex and her enigmatic friend Sebastian have applied for
mining operations work on Ganymede. Jan and Sebastian have been close since
they were children, rescued from the terrible lifeforms loosed on Earth by the
Belters many years ago during the Great War. Sebastian has always been seen
as peculiar, perhaps even a little slow, but not even Jan realizes just how
peculiar he actually is.
And on Saturn's
miniscule moon Pandora, the obese, brilliant, and misanthropic Rustrum Battachariya
tinkers with his collection of weapons from the Great War. Bat is about to find
his solitude invaded by representatives of the Lignon family who seek to use
Pandora as a base for operations in the launching of an extrasolar probe.
of the eccentric and threatening Ligons, who eventually are forced to enlist
an unwilling Alex, drive most of the action in this absorbing and fast-moving
sf novel of the relatively near future. Clearly written, with well-defined characters
and plenty of plot twists and turns, DARK AS DAY is a sequel to the author's
novel COLD AS ICE, which I have not read. DARK stands well on
its own, however, for my money. It isn't the deepest sf book ever written, but
Sheffield's style is workmanlike and the book is enjoyable reading. He does
well with male-female interactions, better than most sf writers. The various
strands of the plot are woven together with facility. If you haven't read any
Sheffield yet, this might be a good place to start.