My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Hard-edged answer to the Fermi paradox; in a universe this large, why don't we see anyone else?
I very much enjoyed this book. A series of good, interesting characters embroiled in gripping yet intellectually interesting things. My one minor gripe is that, later in the book, Brin skips through time quite a bit. It's a common SF technique, when you want to show the results of processes that are going to take years or decades, and I don't really see what the alternative would be, but it still ends up feeling like a cheat code. I'm following the day-to-day lives of a whole circle of people as they build towards a climax and then... the next chapter skips forward a decade, half the characters disappear altogether, and the other half are reminiscing about how exciting the climax was. This book is all about the big picture, and I understand that telling that long-range story is the whole point, but I can't help but feel like I ducked out of a really good movie for popcorn at exactly the wrong moment.
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