One is the loneliest number in this astute, science-tinged account of one man’s solo journey to another solar system.
A scientific breakthrough in the mid-20th century–the Holy Grail of medicine: a cure for aging–provides the spark that sets this story in motion. Psychologist Anna Binder, among many others who share her rosy view of this â€œmiracle” cure, rejoices now that there’s time for both children and a career. But some, like her lover physicist Tim Turner, only see the drawback that accompanies such an achievement–rampant overpopulation to the tune of one billion new people a year, which will further tax the planet’s scarce resources. Tim’s work on vital recycling technologies is now too important to put on hold for a family, so he looks on helplessly as the love of his life packs up and leaves. Irony is the order of the day when Tim’s next lover, Yang Lou-ni, decides that, in these troubled times, a career in politics is more important than their relationship. Reichert cleverly mingles these personal struggles with the broader forces driving chaos in the world around his characters. Thus, it is more out of despair over two loves lost than any altruistic motives that Tim applies, and is conveniently selected, to undertake the titular â€œdangerous voyage” of the book–a one-man, 40-year expedition to search for human-habitable worlds as a safety valve for Earth’s population pressures. Tim’s travels are the familiar stuff of serious science fiction, save in one respect: Reichert has made an admirable effort at presenting a psychologically complex account of the unbearable isolation of four decades alone in space. But his effort is not entirely successful. Tim’s conversations with himself and ravings against inanimate objects often become tedious although they create just enough suspense to keep the journey interesting.
An intriguing premise that suffers from a few missteps in execution.