Colony is a new novel by the Ukrainian science fiction writer Max Kidruk from the series New Dark Ages. The action takes place in the 22nd century, when mankind is colonizing Mars successfully, but suddenly an unexpected danger is added to the old, still earthly, problems.
Earth and Mars in the 22nd century
At the end of 2022, the novel Colony by the Ukrainian writer Max Kidruk was printed. The action takes place in the 22nd century on Earth and Mars, where people have managed to settle. The book is the first in the New Dark Ages series. Other two or three volumes are expected.
Kidruk is one of the most famous contemporary Ukrainian authors. Until now, he was primarily known as the author of technothrillers, a genre where the reader is kept in suspense mainly by the mysteries of modern science. Now we witness his “launch into space” so to say, and it looks successful.
Colony is a science fiction novel. There is no place for anything that does not correspond to the views of modern science. However, this is an exciting fiction book with the main focus on the plot and the characters.
Features of the book
The first thing you pay attention to while reading Colony is its size, which is almost 900 pages. Usually science fiction novels are at least half that size. And this is only the main text. And the book also has auxiliary materials.
Even simply presented separately scientific explanations are rarely found in fiction books by Ukrainian authors. And here, in addition, there is a list of characters with information about who is who and abbreviations used in the text.
The list of scientific and popular scientific literature is most impressive — 70 titles. This can be compared to the number of sources in a PhD thesis.
But the book impresses not only with this. In it, in addition to a large number of illustrations, there is a color pasting with “satellite images” of the Martian colony where the events take place. Thanks to this, you can literally feel yourself next to the characters of the novel.
Another feature is the huge number of characters who act in different storylines. At the same time, it is quite difficult to say which of them is the main one, since events are often presented from the point of view of characters who seemed absolutely minor. It is precisely in order not to get confused in them that the list of characters is presented in the book.
The storyline in Colony can be divided into three branches. The first and largest concerns the events on Mars, the second, significantly smaller, the events on Earth, where amazing adventures are unfolding that meticulously interweave biology, physics and politics. And also there is a standalone plotline, somewhat apart from the rest, which takes place in the east of Ukraine.
However, it is Mars that occupies the central place in the work. We see it as a cold desert, where even water and oxygen are not given for nothing. Humans have been exploring the Red Planet for almost 90 years, but are still forced to live under domes and travel the surface in sealed all-terrain vehicles. At the same time, both technology and cities in the novel are described with great attention and plausibility.
Reading Colony you really feel that Mars is another planet. A day on it lasts 40 minutes longer than on Earth, and a year is almost twice as long. Therefore, the local calendar is used there.
In addition, by 2142, humanity has not yet invented any new ways to travel in space. Interplanetary ships still fly to Mars for weeks, and their launches only happen during launch windows. And all this significantly impact the world of the book.
Biology and physics
The “earthly” part of the book is devoted mainly to solving scientific mysteries. Here readers will delve into the peculiarities of molecular replication of living cells, organs and whole organisms. Microorganisms have really gotten out of control on Earth, so there are enough descriptions of what they can do to the human body.
In addition, readers will have to familiarize themselves with modern physics. Part of the plot is tied to one of the strangest scientific devices created by man — neutrino detectors. These huge machines have to be hidden as deep underground as possible so that they learn more about the surrounding universe.
In general, life on our planet has not changed much. Poor countries remain poor, rich countries remain rich. A Loki can win the election over an honest man, and a rivulet of coincidences can cause an avalanche of disasters.
How to sleep everything over
The plot of the book is about how humanity slept everything over. About how painful unresolved problems are. This is especially clear from the situation on Earth. Humanity has not been able to cope with climate change. A complete apocalypse has not happened, but the rise in temperature is making more and more areas uninhabitable. And the worst thing is that it has no effect on people’s willingness to change anything.
The problems with Russia, China, Iran and other totalitarian powers have also not been resolved. They remain on the world map. Moreover, the number of territories that are weakly controlled by legitimate governments continues to grow around them. The number of incompetent governments on the planet is also increasing. Among such countries is Ukraine, whose east has turned into a permanent zone of lawlessness.
At the same time, humanity has not been able to apply for its own benefit the achievement of science, which became a reality during this time. In particular, a huge breakthrough took place in medicine: now any organ can be printed on a printer, but this achievement is completely nullified by antibiotics getting useless, so surgical operations may soon become impossible.
The situation is even worse with the main breakthrough of all Earth science — telomid. The dream drug, which extends life several times, has been used for decades only on Mars, where it is simply impossible to survive without it. And it is smuggled to Earth.
Yes, and on Mars itself, during the entire time of its development, people managed to have problems according to the same earthly recipe. Everyone was so engrossed in building up their Telomidian paradise that they missed the moment when the Martian children began to be born. For thirty years, they ignored the fact that they were individuals with their own desires, who found themselves in a unique and extremely difficult situation. And this led to disaster.
In general, the book is quite pessimistic. And Kidruk’s characteristic “horror” makes it even “darker”. A pile of corpses, blood and death shown in great detail, murders of minors and crimes committed by minors… Colony is not at all relaxing, but maybe that’s what it should be. After all, its main objective is to warn ourselves about imminent danger.