Monday, January 14, 2013

Earthseed by Pamela Sargent

One of the blogs I follow did a quick review post on some teen titles last November and Pamela Sargent's Earthseed was one of the three titles mentioned -- and it was the first I'd really heard of this book. It intrigued me and I immediately added it to my wishlist, having pretty much put a ban on purchasing books for myself for the remainder of 2012. Surprisingly, or not if you know my family, Earthseed ended up under the Christmas tree and was my first official read of 2013 -- perfect timing considering Tor has just rereleased book two, Farseed.

Zoheret and her fellow shipmates were born and raised on Ship, a massive spacecraft built into an asteroid, traveling through the universes in search of a system capable of supporting human life. The teens on board have been preparing for their mission all of their lives. They know that they will be leaving Ship's protection soon and this means they will have to relocate to the wilds of the Hollow -- an Earthlike portion of Ship that will be their final chance to learn to fend for themselves before settling on their new planet. But first, Ship has a challenge for the teens: they will be divided into teams to race across the Hollow. The winning team will be the first to cross in its entirety in the shortest length of time. And there are no rules. 

Of course violence breaks out amongst the teens, first thanks to competition and then thanks to another surprise.

The book promises to be a mix of Hunger Games and Lord of the Flies, which it undeniably is. Originally published in 1983, the folks at Tor brilliantly decided to repackage and rerelease Earthseed in 2011. It was also reported that Paramount was interested in producing a film adaptation. Not sure what the progress on that has been so far, but it is listed on IMDB as "In Development" for 2014.

I thought Earthseed was pretty fantastic. It holds up well and fits in easily with the current teen releases especially those like Hunger Games and Beth Revis's Across the Universe trilogy. The story moves quickly and Sargent does delve adequately into the science and psychology of the plot, providing satisfying explanations for what happens on board Ship.

Plus, the premise of a bunch of teens living on a spaceship is a little too fun for me to pass up as I seemingly have a habit of being drawn to that kind of story setting. The conflicts the teens face are particularly intriguing and somewhat shocking, which adds an excellent intensity to the story.

Ages ago (1997), Syfy channel aired one season of a show called Mission Genesis in which six teens on a spaceship are supposed to save the human race. Anywho, I kind of loved the show and Earthseed sounded a little similar in some ways. Honestly, Earthseed would have piqued my interest anyway, but I've missed that show and this was a major deciding factor in so quickly adding the book to my must read list.

As an aside, my addled brain has never been able to remember the name of the show. I was on the brink of digging out old VHS tapes to see if maybe I had captured a commercial until I found Phoebe North's post from December 2010 with the first 8 minutes of the first episode! And now Ms. North's upcoming release from Simon and Schuster is on my wishlist for 2013 'cause anyone who watched Mission Genesis has to be good people :) And yes, amazingly I still have a VCR and I still have a VHS with a recording of this movie from Syfy's 1997 lineup. I am a total geek and I know it.

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