By Adam Oyebanji
- Braking Day
Author: Adam Oyebanji
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
- ISBN: 9781529417142
- Published: April 2022
- Pages: 359
- Format reviewed: Paperback
- Review date: 05/04/2022
- Language: English
When we colonise space, I hope that we send out the brightest and the best. These people will represent the absolute best that humanity has to offer, but what happens if the journey is a long one? The bright young things are not going to live to see the destination in 150 years, but their great-great-great grandkids might. Are these later generation as good as those that set off initially or have apathy filtered into the psyche? Adam Oyebanji explores the notion of a multigenerational spaceship in Braking Day and suspects that reputations can span the generations.
Ravi MacLeod is a trainee Engineer on his way to Officer Class, but his family name holds him back, no matter what Ravi does, he will always be a MacLeod. Keeping his head down and doing the job is all Ravi wants to do, but when he sees a mysterious woman knocking on the outside of the ship, he wonders if he is going mad. Telling his superiors would be the best course of action, but would they believe him? Unbeknownst to Ravi he has just become the conduit for communication with a new group, which is a surprise as the Archimedes is over a century into deep space.
Intergenerational space books are always interesting to read as an author has a choice on how the population have evolved in isolation. In the case of Braking there are three ships that are close to their destination. Ravi is a good representative of a later generation crew member who believes in the mission but does not have same investment as the original crew. His cousin, Boz, is an indication how far things can fall with her willingness to bend the rules and hide within the hidden spaces on the massive ship.
The book is a mystery at its heart. Who is this mysterious woman that is speaking to Ravi and what implications may she have as they get closer to a new planet? There are red herrings along the way that inform the story and act as world building. When the ship is sabotaged, is it the mysterious women or an internal force? Not everyone on board is looking forward to landing on a new planet. There are those that fear humans will ruin this one like they did Earth, whilst others are happy to live shipbound forever.
Oyebanji creates a realistic world within the Archimedes. A crew that has drifted from the professional to more familiar. There are certain families that dominate the top roles and others that have been relegated to the bottom. This internal politics comes to a head as the new planet beckons. Will old structures continue on planet, or will all start afresh?
Ravi is an intelligent character that you a warm to. Someone trying to do their best and it is not always good enough. As the book progresses you realise that he is in far deeper than first expected. The concluding section opens the world even further to large set pieces and new ways of thinking for the citizens of Archimedes. At its best, Braking Day captures the awe of deep space travel, but it remains a personal story about one engineer trying to better their life.
Written on 5th April 2022 by Sam Tyler .