Generation Ship by Michael Mammay (Reviewed by Shazzie)

 Book Review: Generation Ship by Michael Mammay

cover of the science fiction book Generation Ship by Michael Mammay

Official Author Website
Buy Generation Ship HERE
Read Caitlin’s review of the book HERE
OFFICIAL AUTHOR BIO: Michael Mammay is a science fiction writer and a retired army officer. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy and is a veteran of more wars than he cares to count. His novels include the Planetside series, The Misfit Soldier, and The Weight of Command. His next novel, Generation Ship, is coming in October of 2023. Planetside was named to Library Journal’s best books of 2018 list, and the audio book, narrated by RC Bray, was nominated for an Audie award for best SF audio book. Michael lives with his wife in Georgia.

FORMAT/INFO: Generation Ship was released on October 17th, 2023 by HarperVoyager. It is 608 pages long and told in third person from multiple POVs. It will be released in paperback, ebook, and audiobook formats.

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Generation Ship by Michael Mammay is a science fiction book that follows the space faring journey of the people on a ship on it’s way to colonise a viable planet.

A big crew of people leave the Earth and go on a space voyage to find another planet to colonize. It’s been 250 years, and their probes give them data indicating the possibility of a suitable planet, and what follows is this story. They left our planet behind, but not all of our problems. Micheal Mammay uses this premise to create a fantastic and engaging novel that follows five of them: a farmer, a scientist, a politician, a security officer and an engineer.

This book is not short by anyone’s standards, but it is immersive. I read about a quarter of it before picking up another book, and when this happens, it’s very difficult for me to be able to get back to reading the previous one. But in this case, that wasn’t an issue at all. Once it got going, I read a big chunk of it in one go. What I loved the most was the tiny little details meticulously dropped in about everyday life on the ship, on the different things experienced by the characters that made it feel so lived in. I lapped up all those mentions, and while I generally express a preference for more compact books, I just want more. 

The pacing is even, and all the characters are given equal(ish) page time, and while I have no affection for any of them, there were times when I did stop reading and ask myself “Is this person right?“, and that is a testament to the skill with which the author deals with real people dealing with problems that are complicated by the implications of any stance they take, and the effect this has on a story that’s mainly furthered by a balance of political and personal objectives.

From the beginning, it is clear that this story isn’t really about the exploration of the new planet, and that a large part of it takes place in the ship. This I enjoyed, and it paved the way for some unfamiliar beats as the personalities clashed, bickered, made decisions in a way that brought disaster after disaster, as well as makes a lot of points for and against democracy, technocracy, autocracy, as well as the sustainability of a civilisation that wears blinders in its push toward extreme reliance on technology. At the end though, it’s a little bit of an unexpected whirlwind with everything that happens, but in a way that makes sense to the characters we follow.

While I was able to appreciate all the manoeuvres of the clashing personalities, at the end of it all, I remember more vibes than plot in a way. For such an intricately woven story, this is not the aftertaste I wish for. While I understand the cases made by all the characters, I felt like I was following the story without any deep investments in any of their successes, and this was a slight dent in my enjoyment of the book.

CONCLUSIONGeneration Ship is a fantastic political drama about the different players and their motives, and how those can shape the future of a civilisation. I highly recommend this to fans of science fiction, and you bet I’ll load all of Michael Mammay’s work onto my kindle.

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