Ark

Ark

Book - 2009
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With the discovery of another life-sustaining planet light years away, there is hope for a chosen few to leave the soon-to-be submerged Earth. Holle Groundwater is one of the candidates, having been trained for this purpose since childhood, when the ships Ark One and Ark Three were being built. But as Holle prepares to endure life aboard the Ark, she comes to realize that her attempt at escape may be more dangerous than trying to stay afloat on a drowning planet...
Publisher: New York : New American Library, c2009
ISBN: 9780451463319
0451463315
Branch Call Number: Science Fiction F Bax

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gamc316
Nov 22, 2018

In preparation for a flood that will submerge the Earth by 2052, a billionaire builds Ark Three, a gigantic ship to sail the waters of the Earth. With funding from three other billionaires the U.S. government begins construction on a multigenerational spacecraft called Ark One. The plan is to fly Ark One to an Earth-like planet and rebuild civilization on the new world. The nature of Ark Two is top secret. From a young age/ the "Candidates" are trained to maintain the ship which will be flown by computers. Prior to launch some of the Candidates are forced out to make room for "gatecrashers" and military mutineers called the "illegals" by the crew. Nine years after launch, they arrive and discover that Earth II's high axial tilt creates temperature extremes on either side of its equator and is also poor in minerals. The crew are of three minds over what to do next: the majority decide to push on to "Earth III", which is 30 years' travel away; another group returns to Earth; the third group decides to colonize Earth II. Those that return to Earth find a water world whose people live on rafts or in the underwater habitat of Ark Two. Life aboard Ark One becomes strained when Zane who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia spreads rumors that the ship is actually a virtual reality simulation. The ship born children, having never seen Earth for themselves, believe him and start a mutiny. Hoping to reveal the ship to be a simulation, they remove a metal plate from the hull, causing an uncontrolled decompression which kills and injures many of the passengers. When they arrive at Earth III, they find a cold planet with dense air, a dynamic atmosphere and a red dwarf sun. Since there is only one remaining shuttle that cannot seat all of them, only three adults and about 40 children are chosen to go; the adults could not bring their own children nor could siblings go to assure genetic diversity. The remaining crew on the Ark plan to conduct a survey of the planetary system and beyond until they die.
The writer was able to bring to life for me the characters as I watched them grow from elementary age when the project started/ to young adults when they started their journey and by the end of the book the original "Candidates" were in their early sixties. The only thing that I would have liked to have been added to the book at the end would have been a look at their lives on Earth/ Earth II/ Earth III and Ark One in five or ten years.

j
jmikesmith
Dec 19, 2011

This is a sequel, sort of, to Baxter's "Flood". That book told the story of a flood that slowly swamped the entire Earth and how a group of people coped with it. This book, Ark, tells the story of a different group of people, although one or two characters from the earlier book make an appearance. This book focuses on a group that tries to build a spaceship to take survivors to another planet, hopefully one less hostile to human life than Earth is becoming.

This novel has great scientific detail and solid characters. It deals mainly with the group dynamics of a small group of people in a limited, closed environment (an interstellar starship). It sometimes seems like these poor colonists are facing far more problems than is realistic, from technical issues to social issues to mental health problems. All of the characters are flawed and the main viewpoint character (although there are several who get to star in the odd chapter from time to time) is hard to warm up to. This doesn't have the mind-bending concepts of some of his other works, but Ark is a solid, entertaining novel.

r
rrjbilodeau
Jul 15, 2011

Its not too bad, read "Flood" first.

gwsuperfan Dec 09, 2010

Ark is a big book- not in the sense of being a weighty tome, but in the sweep and reach of the concepts presented- a flooding Earth, and a search for a new planet on which humanity can survive. Underwater habitats, raft cities and faster-than-light travel. In the end, I felt the author just tries too hard, and all the ambitious concepts presented make a casualty of the ability to suspend disbelief.

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