Monday, January 6, 2014
Title: Equilateral: a novel
By: Ken Kalfus
This quiet, geometrical tale is so realistic, one starts to wonder if it really happened, but everyone is so embarrassed it is never mentioned. Victorian explorers, intense scientists, exploited native workers, men of business, and dedicated but undervalued women all contribute to a gargantuan undertaking led by one scientist with a grand vision: a plausible method for communication across the huge distance between Earth and Mars, using technology available in the second half of the 19th century.
One also detects distance between the characters -- both emotional distance, and the distance imposed by lack of comprehension. The methodology Kalfus describes for this attempt to contact intelligent life on Mars is fabulous steampunk, but his ultimate aim may be to remind us how idealism can be subverted by the industrial machine.
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