Right let’s get the tongue-in-cheek arrogance out of the way, my contention is that it’s the sixth best science fiction novel because The Chronicles of Hope series (now planned to consist of five books) takes the first five spots on that list. I actually think the bible is a great fiction novel, it’s incredibly well written and some of the proverbs in there are original, great and visionary. Also it’s given us so many great ideas and lessons on how to form a society, so we should be grateful for that. The depth of imagination involved in the fiction is also unrivalled I think. Imagining that there’s this invisible man in the sky, an invisible man who watches over us, a man with a list of ten things we shouldn’t do, that if we do any of these ten things we’ll go to hell – this is unbelievably original character ‘making’.
I do think it’s about time now that we moved on though, I think we’re advanced enough now to stop dwelling on the book and referring to it as some kind of life manual. There are some pretty major omissions in it, the biggest that seemingly it just misses out the first hundred years. It doesn’t really seek to explain how god created the universe, which I would’ve thought should have been covered in the first few chapters, maybe it will be rewritten in time and take into account the timeline of evolution which is now know is based on scientific facts. It certainly wouldn’t have got an agent on board nowadays that’s for sure, I mean just imagine if you sent it to an agent. I imagine their first observation would be ‘hold on are you suggesting the protagonist created homosexuals then bans homosexuality, why would he do that?’. And also ‘how could God have possibly been an advocate of free will? It says that he gave us free will but then he seems to tell us exactly how to use it? He says thou shalt not kill, but then this doesn’t seem to apply if you’re talking about witches, homosexuals, heathen enemies, muslims, slaves, the adulterous, rebellious kids, and blasphemers. The book says that God gave us free will then you expect people to swallow that he would then command us to use it exactly as he told us to?’ I don’t think it’d get very far, original, well written but far too many implausible anomalies. There might be a God, you might have hit on something in creating this character who could’ve created the universe, but to think anyone will believe in it is ludicrous. How can you possibly think people will believe in anything for which there’s not one single shred of evidence? That’s probably what the rejection letter would point out.
The first book in The Chronicles Of Hope series, '2082', sees an experimental intergalactic project when the government get the chance to colonise a recently discovered planet that’s habitable for human life. Fuelled by overpopulation on Earth making life increasingly unsustainable they offer Frank Noon, a politician, the chance to lead the project, largely because of a stir caused by a speech he does on global warming. Frank finds himself in charge of a cross section of the population at odds with themselves and the situation. As the story develops they discover more and more about the project and start to realise just how far-reaching the consequences for the future of humanity might be.
Frank Noon divides opinion. Whilst some say he’s a philosophical genius, some say he’s a fanciful dreamer who deliberately courts controversy with his anti-establishment views about the failings of modern society.
Seemingly nearing the end of his life in politics, he reluctantly fronts an experimental inter-galactic government project late in the 21st century aimed at making life on an overpopulated Earth more sustainable. As he battles to gain control of a relative asylum, consisting of a cross section of the populous as much at odds with themselves as the situation, he unwittingly embarks on a life-changing journey of self discovery.
As they learn more about the project and its intentions how far-reaching might the consequences be for the future of humanity?