Something is going wrong on the planet of Paradise, crops will no longer grow while those imported are withering and dying in their droves. The indigenous plant life (never entirely safe) is becoming wildly unpredictable and dangerous. And so the order is given to abandon Paradise, all personnel to be removed and re-assigned - all human presence on the planet will be disestablished.
There are some who believe that Paradise still has secrets to reveal and more to offer the human race and that the risks of staying are far outweighed by the potential rewards. Hera, the leader of the research team is one person and together with Mack, the leader of the "demolition" team sets off across the planet to find the near-mythical Dendron, the last of it's kind.
The Disestablishment of Paradise is an incredible book, it's got that indescribable feeling of a science fiction classic; told by a talented story-teller and spoken in a confident voice. It's also quite different to anything I have read before, a wonderfully alien world that is described in brilliant detail that feeds the imagination.
Comparisons to Ursula K Le Guin's seminal works such as The Word for World is Forest are inevitable; as is just about any novel that focuses on world ecology and man's nature to control, hunt and strip a habitat for their own ends. The Disestablishment of Paradise does an admirable job of educating the reader without preaching to them (a mistake many fall foul of) - while also evoking the grand majesty and mystery of something truly alien in a way no book has quite managed to before (only Peter Hamilton coming anywhere near).
This alienness is truely remarkable which together with Hera's and Mack's relationship is amongst the highlight of the book. That's not to say there isn't anything else to like, the story is well constructed, feeling very organic in nature and moving forward without the reader even realising and the prose is quite exceptional; evoking a true sense of wonder on a number of occasions. Even amongst all this alien flora there is a certain sense of reality too, grounded by the earthy narrative structure and no-nonsense dialogue.
Science Fiction in the truest sense of the word, The Disestablishment of Paradise is everything a genre book should be; accesible, entertaining, rewarding and thoughtful - awakening a sense of wonder very much like those authors did in the golden age of science fiction.
Written on Friday 5th April 2013 by Antony.
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