Launch is a speculative look at Earth’s future as seen through the eyes of two human travelers who’ve taken a journey not only through space, but through time, by means of sub-light travel. Three years for them is five hundred back on Earth. With humanistic overtones, the future is a place of universal peace, prosperity, and human unity.
Launch is a novel that covers a lot of ground. Beginning with a seemingly typical Grand Canyon tour that ends with our female protagonist, Claire, saving a baby cougar, we spend the majority of the first half observing Claire Sommer and David Archer fall in love and decide to marry. Both have military flying experience and have earned distinguish medals during service. It is a match made not only for love, but also to fulfill a dream David has had since childhood: to fly a starship.
NASA is sending two people on a 500 year mission to a star they call Minor, 250 light-years away from earth. To even get a chance to apply, David must have a wife. Claire agrees, and fortunately they are in love. After intensive training along side two other couple, the Archer’s are chosen for the pioneer flight to explore a new solar system. Upon their return to Earth, they are greeted as celebrities. They plan to start a family. And like any time period in human history, there are those who discriminate against them.
There are many good things about this book. Not unlike papers and stories written in centuries about the human condition, Launch looks seriously upon corrupt government, election reform, the weak points of capitalism, and the current global plights of overpopulation and environmental disaster. The story proposes solutions to these troubles that make practical sense, if short-sighted politicians can see past their own pocketbooks and dedicate themselves to truly helping the citizens who elect them.
My biggest complaint is the slow beginning. I wanted to get to the action of the launch and exploration much sooner than it happened. While the romance was important, this section could have been pared down to a few particular scenes that embodied the essence and the impetus of the romance, as well as the important relationships with the friends they would leave behind. I was just about to give up on the book at Chapter 12, but I pushed through hoping to find the momentum of the actual adventure. My second biggest complaint was the ending, but I won’t spoil that for anyone who wants to read the book.
I recommend the book to anyone who likes humanist ideals and wants to have hope that Earth’s future won’t be a complete catastrophe.
I struggled with a rating number to give this book, I lean somewhere between 3 and 4. There are many interesting topics scattered throughout, impacting speeches, and enjoyable lines, such as “Nikki was a precocious high-speed comet with a random orbit.” to describe a young boy, and “The quality of life that the children in our society achieve collectively determines the quality of life that society as a whole can achieve.” In some places, however, the delivery is less interesting and choppy.
For my blog, I rate this a 3.5.