Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Orphaned Worlds Orphaned Worlds
Book Two of Humanity’s Fire
by Michael Cobley

Supplied for review by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed By: Jacqui Smith

I have to say that the second volume of Humanity’s Fire felt rather more polished than the first (possibly because my copy of book one was a galley proof). It still took me the better part of half the book to get back into it – this is a complex universe and there are a lot of characters scattered over several planets and deep into the depths of hyperspace. I’ve come to the conclusion that Cobley’s version of hyperspace has a lot in common with the D&D version of the Abyss (and possibly Dante’s Inferno). It’s got lots of layers, some very weird and unlikely places, and some seriously strange and nasty stuff lurking in the depths. And you really don’t want nightmares, that were banished there for good reason at the end of the last Galactic War, to escape from those depths, do you? When compared to some of the works on the 2010 Hugo ballot, I have to say that this work stands up well (and I’m led to wonder why Seeds of Earth wasn’t there). It is at the very least a proper work of science fiction, and introduces some very interesting concepts, even if it does stretch the credibility at times. The Orphaned Worlds is a pretty decent middle volume of its trilogy, but you really would want to read Seeds of Earth first!
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