D.D. Syrdal's Reviews > Eternity Road

Eternity Road by Jack McDevitt
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Apr 18, 12

bookshelves: science-fiction
Read in April, 2012

An interesting post-apocalyptic story that paints a less-bleak view of the future than more recent books of this type (The Road, for instance). Pockets of humanity continue to exist after an unknown cataclysm in the distant past, but many are isolated from eachother, and civilization for the most part is at a pre-industrial, agricultural level. Superstition replaces science: belief in demons, ghosts, gods has supplanted most scientific knowledge which has been lost. No one even knows how long ago the Roadmakers (that's us) civilization crumbled, or what the cause of its demise was. Little is known of the people who left behind the unfathomable ruins of massive roads, bridges, burned out cities and towns. It's an interesting premise.

I do wonder, though, how society has remained at such a stunted level for so many years, possibly thousands of years. It only took our civilization 2000 years to go from the pyramids to airplanes and automobiles, and there's not even any mention of the wheel in Illyria. Books are virtually non-existent, and the lure of the myth of people who preserved the ancient tomes proves irresistible to two different groups who go looking for "Haven" for different reasons. The first group is decimated, only the leader returns, but on his death bequeaths the only known copy of Mark Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" which he brought back from his journey, to a woman he barely knows, the sister of one of his expeditions' lost members. This sets her on the path to find out what really happened to her brother, and why for ten years after returning to Illyria alone, Karik never mentioned the existence of the priceless book to anyone.

Despite some questions about the societal structure (which honestly could go in so many directions, and this is just one possibility and that's fine) this was a very enjoyable read. McDevitt is a good writer, and it's a fun story. I enjoyed the ending, not at all what I expected.

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Squee There was mention of horse-drawn carriages at one point, so they must have had wheels. What really threw me was that in a world where they made guns and were reinventing the steam engine and even scuba gear, no one in ANY of the little sub-cultures we see had come up with a printing press, and everyone was still hand-copying books. Really?


D.D. Syrdal Yes, there was a lot of stuff like that. I liked the concept very much, though. It was an 'after-the-fall' scenario but not nearly as bleak as a lot of the dystopian stuff coming out more recently.


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