Book Review: Phases of Gravity by Dan Simmons (Four Stars)


Book Review: Phases of Gravity by Dan Simmons

Four Stars

“You think a new born know what it all means? It just happens … awareness comes later, if it comes at all.”

A genre-mixing mélange of science and speculative fiction with a helping of mysticism, but well told. This thirty-year-old tale has aged well. Worth the effort to sort out who’s doing/saying what to whom. Strong male and female leads. Good friction. Many emotional hooks.

“There’re places of power. You have to help make them … be in the right place at the right time and know it. By dreaming about it but not thinking about it.”

Tangled time lines often confuse, but the origami plot structure keeps the reader close to Richard’s consciousness (and wondering about Maggie). Just when you think the plot thread written in present tense is the main one, it isn’t.

“All the while telling each other and yourself that the good times are coming, and then everything falls to pieces and you’re just waiting to die.”

Wry humor both in the telling and in the dialogue. Time-appropriate jargon helps pull the reader into that time and place, since America in the 1940s through 1980s is ancient history to many current readers.

“To write something you have to have something to say.”

Quibbles: An F-104 can’t fly from Pensacola, FL to Homestead AFB, FL in ten minutes. An F-104 lights its afterburner at brake release, not rotation (halfway down the runway). The USAF anti-satellite missile (ASM-135) was not carried by F-16s; too puny.

“Even places of power are useless unless you’re prepared to bring something to them.”