Solomons Arrow–A book review

Two themes form the basis for this novel. One is that the speed of light is the speed limit and the faster one can travel, the slower will the time be for him. The other theme is that the space-time can be folded and thus one can travel from one part of the universe to another part in a fraction of a second.

It is the middle of the twenty-first century and Dr Solomon Chavez, the CEO of CIMRAD and a trillionaire is sending the first humans (along with himself) to a planet in another solar system known as Epsilon Eridani. Despite a terrorist organization known as the CRA, trying to foil the plan, the space shuttle, known as Solomon’s Arrow is successfully launched. Traveling at almost the speed of light for ten years, the crew is finally successful in reaching its destination. However, to their astonishment, they find that the planet (EE-4) they have arrived at is already inhabited by humans. The humans had arrived there thousands of years ago by a space-folding technology known as foldway.

Here is where Einstein’s theory of relativity kicks in. In the ten years that they had travelled at almost the speed of light, thousands of years had already passed on Earth. In this duration, the Earthlings were successful in building the space-folding technology otherwise known as foldway. So forms yet another plan to travel to another planet, this time using the foldway technology. However, blowing the Yellowstone caldera and causing an eruption, the aftermath of which resulted in the annihilation almost all the inhabitants of Earth, this time the CRA is successful not only in thwarting the plan but also replacing themselves in place of the original crew of Burnhams and traversing through the space and thus arriving at this planet. This is where the novel gets interesting.

However, the author is not able to maintain the same amount of interest throughout the novel. In the jumble of events that Jennings has infused it is easy for oneself to lose the thrust of the plot. Too much effort is placed in describing the details of the events and thus unnecessarily elongating the novel, which make it boring at times. The ending is quite surprising and, I would say, distressing as the first travellers to the Epsilon Eridani decide to return to Earth and never make any journey to the outer space in the future. While the ideas of population control, protection of environment and sustainable development are indisputable, the idea that the human race should never aspire to go beyond Earth and reach for the stars is by no means a logical conclusion. Besides, the author fails to explain the ideals of the terrorist organization CRA. Simply assuming that their goal is to create terror is grossly superficial. Perhaps the CRA had the same objective that Jennings concludes at the ending. If so, it is a manifestation of his confusion. All in all Solomon’s Arrow is a mediocre novel.