In my review of Stormhaven Rising, the first volume of the “Atlas and the Winds” series, I briefly noted comparisons between that novel and the first sci fi classic about an asteroid destroying the earth, the 1933 When Worlds Collide.
I have far fewer comparisons between the first book’s sequel, After When Worlds Collide, and Prometheus and The Dragon. The 1934 sequel was pure fantasy with amazing remains of a vanished alien civilization left behind on another planet for the human survivors to inhabit. True, the various bands of humans from different countries brought with them dangerous ideological conflicts from their now dead home planet. The same is true of Prometheus, although on a far more complex scale.
From the beginning of Prometheus, the Chinese and Americans battle each other both on the moon and on earth as each think they have the real hope of throwing the coming asteroid off course. Each, due to both arrogance and technological issues, cancel out each other’s efforts. At the same time, other conflicts flare up on earth and between various lunar colonies. On earth, an alliance between the Russians and Arab states seek to destroy Israel, but this union breaks down and threatens the stability of the Russian/Arab moon colony. An insane American evangelist enflames thousands of followers to destroy all spacecraft taking potential survivors to the moon as he thinks unbelievers should simply accept the will of God and die in the coming apocalypse. The Americans don’t like the idea of the Stormhaven colony having an equal voice in the future as they feel the Stormhaven base doesn’t have legitimate international standing. In short, in the precious time left before the asteroid hit, humanity is its own worst enemy.
Author Eric Michael Craig does an excellent job providing characters who represent the multiple perspectives and widely differing agendas of a number of nations, scientists, political and military leaders, as well as religious groups. He also provides a large number of interpersonal relationships of those desperate to survive on the moon, those who try to create safe havens on earth, or those spreading terrestrial and lunar havoc based on self-defeating motives. As with volume one, Craig is especially good with his explanations of scientific advances, vivid settings, and sadly too many believable human tensions. Without giving anything away, the concluding chapters include so much emotional punch that readers may well be breathless by the time they read the bonus chapter from the next book, Shadows in the Sun.
Certainly, it’s best to read Stormhaven Rising before diving into Prometheus. If you’re like me, you’ll want to go beyond these two novels, read book three, and look forward to the rest of the series coming out in 2017. To me, Eric Michael Craig undeniably deserves to be lauded as an important new voice in science fiction.
This review first appeared at BookPleasures.com on Jan. 23, 2016—