Mark Johansen's Reviews > The Boat of a Million Years

The Boat of a Million Years by Poul Anderson
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Jun 08, 11

it was ok
bookshelves: science-fiction
Read in January, 2007

It's been a number of years since I read this so this isn't entirely a fair review. But I've long thought of this as the only book I've read by Poul Anderson that I didn't like.

For one thing, this is basically two completely different stories rammed together with the thinnest of justifications. The first half of the book is about a group of people who are immortal, and who over the centuries gradually find each other and go through various adventurers in various times and places. Then in the second half of the book they all get together to go on a space flight. What does the space flight have to do with these people being immortals? Pretty much nothing. I get the distinct impression that the author ran out of ideas for what could happen to these immortals but decided the book wasn't long enough, so he just used the same characters in a totally different story.

Also, in the first half of the book, the writer hops from one obscure historical setting to another. I respect the goal: So many historical novels are set in ancient Rome or medieval England, it's nice to see a story that goes somewhere (and somewhen) else. But I just get the feeling that the author is trying to impress us with his knowledge of history more than entertain us with an interesting story.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Craig One connection between the story lines is the special time logistics involved in interstellar travel.
I think that the other travelers that they meet are "special" in the same way.


Mark Johansen Craig: Yes, that's the connection he makes. But I thought it was pretty strained. I mean, if he wanted to write a story involving slow space travel that requires long-lived people, he could easily have thrown in that medical advances in the future enable people to live longer or any number of other one-paragraph justifications. But yeah, there wasn't "no connection", there was just a very thin connection.


Horse N. Hmm. I thought the connection was that they figured out they would never be accepted on earth, so they had to leave to take control of their own futures. And oh, by the way, "you" need someone to take a ridiculously long space flight, "we" need to leave earth. Win-win. But it's been a few years since I read it as well.


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