Friday, June 15, 2012

Hex by Allen Steele

Rendezvous with Rama meets Ringworld in this novel set in the Coyote series. Allen Steele's latest Coyote-universe novel explores a new take on the Big Dumb Object trope (any overly large object, usually of alien origin, that causes a sense of wonder just by existing). Only the BDO in Hex isn't quite so dumb.

In the story, humanity receives an invitation to visit the home system of the danui, a reclusive alien species. The crew sent to make contact discover a Dyson sphere around the star of the system. This sphere is different than the the usual spheres depicted in fiction; it's comprised of billions of hexagons, each one an individual biosphere capable of supporting a specific kind of life (or life from a specific planet). The crew begins exploring a couple of these hexes, and after a series of mistakes, finally makes contact with their hosts. Will the danui let them stay after making all these mistakes? Will the danui let them live?

I didn't know what to expect going in to Hex. I haven't read any of the Coyote series before, and this is supposedly the last in the series.That's a shame. Hex is a great novel that takes on the big dumb object idea with a modern sense of exploration, fear, and humanity’s bull-headedness.

It’s got a great writing style, interesting characters, and a cool milieu. I should go back and read the rest of the Coyote Coyote series, and I'll definitely look up more by Allen Steele.

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