Junction asks the question: what would we do if we had access to a brand new, virgin world? Would we destroy it like we are doing with our own world? Or would we learn from our mistakes and treat this as a second chance to do things right?
Daisuke Matsumori is a Japanese nature show host who happens to be in the right part of the world when the wormhole is discovered in the highlands of Papau New Guinea. Passing through the wormhole leads to an alien world of competing ecosystems, complete with many other worm holes. One this planet Junction, Daisuke meets the first explorer to set foot on this alien world, biologist Anne Houlihan.
When their exploratory party crashes in the alien wilderness, Daisuke and Anne try to lead bickering soldiers and civilians back to civilization alive. As they trek across one unearthly biome after another and members of the party continue to die, however, Daisuke wonders whether human politics might be more deadly than alien biology.
The author does a good job of describing how an alien world might behave, this isn't like landing on a Star Trek world - the flora and fauna are different enough to be incompatible to life from Earth (although it does have a conveniently breath-able atmosphere. The alien life is described in vibrant detail and such descriptions are the highlight of the book. The whole idea of Junction is a powerful one too, I don't think I'm giving much away by saying that it's not named "Junction" by accident. The way that the planet is having to fight off foreign invaders is a clever way of highlighting our own problems disrupting nature and destroying habitats.
I liked that there was a lot of thought put into how the various countries would react to this news of a new world. As you might expect, there is a lot of posturing, conspiracy and military elements trying to throw their weight around (some more than others). Some of the group seem to have their own hidden agenda's also. The cast of characters is equally well thought-out, from a diverse background - American, Australian, Indonesian and of course Japanese.
Junction is a clever, entertaining and thoughtful novel that examines what would happen if we did get another chance at living on a different planet, and how we might just find new and inventive ways to mess it up - or that some of us might just learn from our mistakes.
Written on 1st March 2019 by Ant.
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