The Hawksbill Station by Robert Silverberg
I’ve always on the outlook for good scifi. I love the genre but always found that good scifi is hard to find. I like grounded realistic, more believable science fiction versus the fantastical crazy scifi set in the far-flung future. And when I saw the book, The Hawksbill Station on a sale, it looked a tad on the fantastical side of things, but I decided to give it a try regardless. So here is my review of The Hawksbill Station by Robert Silverberg.
So what is it about? It follows Barrett. He is a recently crippled prisoner on the Hawksbill Station. The Hawksbill Station is a camp set in the Cambrian a billion years in the past, and the American government sent their most treasonous political prisoners back in time to a pitiful nearly dead world to fend for themselves and suffer. All men go to one camp. All women to another. This story focuses on Barrett and his camp. It focuses on the sad state of the camp and how these men have fallen apart over the last twenty years.
Then jumps back and forth between two story lines. The first is, for the first time in years, a new prisoner arrives. But there is something off about him. And Barrett wants to uncover his secrets. The second is told in flashbacks. It chronicles what happened leading up to the Hawksbill Station. It involves the collapse of the government, an essential dystopian like government take over and a rag tag revolutionary movement trying to bring back America.
The good? This is a fascinating tale. The two plot lines tie into each other beautifully. And it’s filled with betrayals, heartbreaks, and an interesting exploration of sanity just being chipped away over time. Its a fascinating character driven science fiction piece. It is paced well, and this world is very believable. My fear was this would be fantastical with the prisoners taming dinosaurs or something, but that is not the case. This is science fiction with real science. And I love that about it. It also explores a theme of political brainwashing and the idea of government beating its citizens down so far that they just accept the new normal. But as an American, where there is huge divide in the country at the moment, I felt thankful it is not pandering and /or insulting a part of the nation in the process. This can be essentially enjoyed by anyone. I know it seems silly I have to bring this up, but people are a bit tightly wound nowadays when it comes to politics.
The bad? I enjoyed this book way more than I expected. I think it is pretty much perfect. But I can see a complaint other people may have. The entire cast of this book are men. There’s a single woman character relegated to the role of the “girlfriend,” and that's it. And some people today will go, “It should have had more diversity” and blah blah blah. And sure, maybe it should have, but it is an older book and the core story itself is such beautifully told tale I didn’t care what made up the cast. As a woman, I could relate to these characters because they were so layered and felt so real. But some people today don’t feel the same way when they consume media, so I’m just throwing it out there.
Overall, this is an amazing piece of science fiction. It is layered, smart and pulls at the heartstrings a little bit. It is one of the best pieces of scifi, I read in a very long time, and it makes me want to read more of this author’s work. In my opinion, this is a must read. Now go ahead and read it.
5 smoothies out of Five
Overall Rating: A Fascinating Scifi Tale Worth Checking