Arik is an exceptionally gifted young man, the pride of the first generation born on Venus known as Gen V in the enclosed colony of Ishtar Terra Station One or V1. Life in V1 is carefully controlled as everything from water to oxygen use is continually monitored so the balance between what is used and consequently replaced is maintained. Problems abound as the inhabitants struggle to become independent of the Earth whose political, economic and environmental issues could cut them off from additional resources at any time. Arik is charged with creating a viable artificial photosynthesis procedure capable of creating more oxygen, a vital key to expanding the colony. While the original generation, known as the founders, expects Arik to create a machine to do the job, he approaches the problem from an entirely different angle.
As Arik sinks deeper into his research, his relationship to his pregnant wife becomes more strained. Arik was in a horrific accident from which he wasn’t expected to survive. It left him in a coma for months so the child Cadie is carrying cannot be his. Yet this is far from the only uncomfortable truth as Arik continues his research and begins uncovering more information about the founders. What Arik eventually discovers about V1 will transform everything Gen V was led to believe and will cost everything he has to give.
Cantrell’s science and explanation heavy novel is a bit slow going, even redundant in places yet still manages to deliver a decent futuristic sci-fi tale with particular appeal to the younger male audience. Watching an unsuspecting Arik turn into a detective as well as a world builder is a treat. The climax, while sad, ends with a glimmer of hope for V1 and quite possibly, all humanity.
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