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Jyouji Hayashi | The Ouroboros Wave

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This story is intended for Hard Science Fiction fans only. And I do mean only.

 

267 pages. VIZ Media, 2010. $14.99 (soft cover)
 
The plot of Ouroboros Wave starts with exactly the right ingredients to make a classic sci-fi story. Not too far into the future, a tiny black hole is discovered on the outer edges of our solar system.  A collective science and development organization called the Artificial Accrection Disk Development association (AADD) was tasked with building a giant ring, Ring Mega-Structure Ouroboros, around the black hole to tap its energy and distribute it throughout the rest of the solar system. Over time, the AADD has become an entity that thinks and works independently of its Earth-based origins to the point that there is tension and suspicions between the earth governments and the AADD. The AADD becomes a whole population of its own, spread throughout the solar system on little space stations and planetary colonies. As the decades-long Ouroboros project unfolds, it becomes increasingly clear that humans may not be the only life in the solar system and the black hole may be more than just a natural occurrence of the universe.
 
As I said, Ouroboros Wave starts out with the right ingredients, and all that’s left to do is stir them up, turn up the heat, and let them simmer…but unfortunately, there just isn’t a lot of flavor in this recipe.
 
First, let me be clear that this story is intended for Hard Science Fiction fans only. And I do mean only. Jyouji Hayashi is a brilliant man and understands many things about astrophysics and working in outer space, but he tried to cram all that knowledge into one short little novel. This causes Ouroboros to often read like a procedural manual for a piece of high tech equipment.
 
The rest of the time, Ouroboros reads like lists of bullet points. The Ouroboros Wave is essentially six short stories that take place with very different characters over the course of many years in locations that are very distant from each other. It often took me a while to fully grasp where the new story was going and who was involved.
 
What the book really could have used was a little characterization. Most of the characters are nothing more than a name that speaks a few lines of dialogue, all in the same voice, to help advance the story. You are given very little reason to care about who they are and what they want. If I had been allowed to know a little bit more about the characters’ motivations, I might have had more of a vested interest in where the story was heading. These characters are put into these particular situations in the midst of this unfolding epic and we care very little for the magnitude of their situation. It’s almost assumed that the reader should just understand this obvious drama instead of having it crafted for us.
 
In the end, you have a really nice outline for what could be an interesting Hard Science Fiction tale. Unfortunately, a lot of the meat of this recipe is missing. If the premise of this book appeals to you, then you should get some satisfaction out of The Ouroboros Wave. But if you like your literature a little more literary, you may want to skip this one. |Ryan Parker
 

 

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