However, for many the reason they flock to the style is to take a figurative, if not literal, glimpse into the future. Think Brave New World, Stranger in a Strange Land, 1984 or, if you haven't read it, check out Stand on Zanzibar for a few frighteningly accurate visions of the future.
New Frontier here fits the bill by offering a picture of a possible future for humanity.
The time frame of the book isn't given. I don't know if it is necessary. Rather what is important is that it is the potential for what could happen.
If you’ve ever read a book and wished for more characters, New Frontier, is the book you’ve been looking for. There are a lot, and I mean a lot of characters. With a lot of characters, you also get a lot going on in the book. Part of the enjoyment of reading it is to unravel the tale. All of this is set against a delightful literary background. Fair warning, read it over a weekend or during a couple of days where you can forge through it as this will help with focus and reader continuity in staying with the story.
The book starts with an accident on a deep space ship called the Argos on a mission to the far reaches of the universe. The ship has the ability to do things that no other spacecraft in history has ever even dreamed of accomplishing. It is faster, technologically more capable, has a longer range and is, in many ways, the key to the future. However, with the accident, the ship is crippled and the aftermath becomes critical to our tale.
As in any good tale from the science fiction genre, you’ll find futuristic technology, but as interesting as the technology is, the glimpse into the future offered by New Frontier for the entirety of mankind is what makes the book intriguing.
New Frontier offers a look at a reality that is well beyond the limits of the earth as we know it. Mankind is no longer bound to the confines of our planet, rather the reaches of the solar system are within the grasp of humanity and as a result, this vast area has become much like the wild west. There are colonies, outposts, homesteaders, opportunists and with this comes the struggle and fight to control the new frontier. Like the wild west, you have the good, the bad and the ugly. New Frontier is a study in the good verses the evil and these themes are embodied through the characters as they are revealed and developed, but these themes really step to the forefront through what I was most intrigued with in the book.
Lee creates a world where governments are all for the most part figureheads. There for no other reason as people expect government. However, the world has developed to the point where the power rests with but a few rival corporations battling for universal domination.
There are several aspects of the book that I found took away from the whole. As I said above, there are an abundance of characters that can a struggle to follow. I didn’t find there to be one main character which out of the norm for me. I believe that fewer characters would have resulted in less for the reader to track and overall stronger characters.
Lee also uses a different approach as to the timeline of the book. The book opens with chapter entitled "Now" and there after jumps around into the past or future with no clear pattern. The jump may be months, it may be years, it may be to the past or the future. When you leave a character, you may next encounter a past or future version of them which makes for a disjointed approach to the timeline. In the balance against the story as a whole and the fashion in which it is presented, the story clearly wins given the strength of the story. I only wonder if it would not have been even stronger had it been told in a different fashion in relation to the timeline.
Overall, New Frontier is a solid book. It is an entertaining read that makes the reader think even after putting the book down. As I have always said, if you can keep the reader thinking even when they are done with the book, you as a writer have created something worthy of the reader's effort.
Fans of traditional science fiction, character driven fiction and tales of the future will enjoy New Frontier.