Book Review: Follow The Sun by James Savill

 photo Follow The Sun by James Savill.jpg Title: Follow The Sun
By: James Savill
Categories / Themes: science fiction, doomed Earth.
Read: 15th February, 2014
Rating: 5 / 5
Obtained: Goodreads
Cross posted Review to: Goodreads

Edgar Every is the creator of a visionary formula which helps calculate the growth of the universe. He does this through his pleasant views outside his window as well as a little help from a theme park ride called “The End of the Universe”. A decade later, his work has made him a minor celebrity and it we soon find that the Earth might be doomed. Thanks to Edgar’s findings, a team is put together to save the Earth and its people.

With the beginning of each chapter, we’re enlightened with snippets, glossary terms and extracts from what’s going on in the novel. These provide little bursts of information that sort of make it seem as if someone is looking back on these events as some sort of research or report, summarising the events of these Earth problems. I think this plays well for the story, because that’s basically what the entire book is. It doesn’t provide unnecessary information, there’s no unnecessary drama and the all the relevant findings are explained to the audience.

Do you know what it also reminds me of? It reminds me of Rocket Ship Galileo by Robert A. Heinlein. I thoroughly enjoyed that book. It really played a great role for its time. The same can be said for Follow the Sun, in the sense that they both have a sort of innocence to them. I’ll go on with characters, with that point in mind. Edgar Every has a unique innocence about him. We begin the novel with him taking his young nephew to an amusement park. From here on, he’s found what seems to be the key to the universe as we know it. The book doesn’t go into the pain staking work he’ll likely have done as a scientist or the ridiculous amount of research he would have trolled over in order to finish his work. It just limits his massive findings to a dream and a theme park ride. I can see it as kind of an inspirational point; that people will look on it and say something like, “well, if astronomy is that easy, maybe I should have a go.” (On the flip side, I can also see it as being disappointing down the track, if that happens…) I appreciate that, from the beginning of the novel, we know he’s not in this just to be well-known. He’s not trying to do this for financial profit and he’s not doing it just to be a hero. It’s pleasant because we can see that he’s just doing this to help others, not just to understand the universe, but he then takes on a role to try and save the planet. Soon enough, we meet his research team (though this is a little further onward in time) and we get a little background on a few of each of the members. It’s hard to find fault with any of these characters and I think all of these people are a valuable asset to the team. We don’t find out much about these people, but I think it’s beneficial to the novel because we all focus on the goal at hand. I also like the way that, although they each have their own specialities, we can visualise them learning new things for their project wherever they need to.

There are very few things that are unnecessary in this novel. There is basically no unnecessary drama, no awkward relationships between characters and very little mundane problems in the plot. The actual plot takes place over a few decades. It’s fast and we get the basic elements of what’s going on with the team. The one thing I like most about this novel is that it’s not a depressing novel. The main cast of characters all know that the Earth has a tragic ending (that they’re trying to prevent), but the author keeps a positive spin on everything that’s happening. We have what is basically a good natured outlook to saving Earth. The novel is set in the future, but does not label a specific date. The planet has been integrated to one government, “Earth Ops”, and one space program, “Space ops”. The related scientific principles and technologies are explained so that the everyday person can understand the information presented. Much of it is saving Earth from “drifting” out into the universe, while trying to give the reader the feeling as if they’re on the team making it possible. We have little information toward what country the novel is set in, or even the races and backgrounds of team members. The author has basically given us the option of creating that imagination ourselves, providing an interactive element to it. For a scientific novel, I think it works well. I think it has a timeless element. In twenty or thirty years, I could probably reread it (though I’ll probably reread it again in the meantime) and it’ll still be a good book (to me, at least). The ending was disappointing and silly to me, I must admit. I won’t go into details or spoil you on that.

I haven’t reread the book as I had intended, but thinking back on it long time after reading, I don’t remember the characters as much as I thought I might. It was two years ago, of course, but I don’t think I remember much about the characters. I actually reread the snippet on Amazon to remind myself of Edgar’s name, I’ll be honest. The characters are definitely something I wish we had known more about. At the time of originally writing the review, my consideration was that the lack of knowledge about those people kept the book on point and focused about the save Earth role. However, I would like to know more about these people and about their histories. It would have been nice to see how they got to be at this position in their lives. Overall, I’m impressed by the author’s ability to present a pretty happy novel without creating too much negative outlook. I think it’s quite a good novel for a younger crowd and I’m pretty interested in seeing what kind of attention this book will receive in the future. Despite there not being a continuation or mention of one, from the author, I think that it would make an interesting series and would be interested in reading more in the future.

I won a copy of this book via Goodreads Giveaways and these are just my honest thoughts on it.

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