Review of “The Four Thousand, the Eight Hundred”

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Book Reviews – “The Four Thousand, the Eight Hundred” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Greg Egan (http://www.gregegan.net). Mr. Egan has published more than a dozen novels.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Mature Language. The story is set in the future with asteroids having been colonized.

The asteroids Vesta and Ceres are not close, but have a commerce program worked out where one sends large chunks of ice while the other sends large chunks of stone through space. These chunks of ‘cargo’ take about three years to traverse the space between the asteroids.

Some on Vesta ‘catch a ride’ on the cargo, traveling in a suspended state. They are desperate to leave the deteriorating conditions on Vesta. A traditional ferry vessel has left Vesta for Ceres. The Vesta government claims that there are “war criminals” on board. The new port director on Ceres, Anna, is faced with the decision of how to respond to Vesta demands that the ferry carrying nearly 800 passengers be turned away. Vesta has threatened the nearly 4000 escaping Vesta riding the cargo in route.

Thankfully this was a short read of just under 2 hours for the 70 page Science Fiction novella. While I liked the overall plot, I felt that I was dumped into the middle of a story. It also felt a little chaotic to me. In my opinion, this would have been a much better read if it had been expanded into a full novel. The cover art is OK, I guess it is supposed to represent the ferry. I think an image of a block of stone with a survival cocoon attached would have been better. I give this novella a 2.5 (rounded up to a 3) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

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