It's been 10 years since The Recollection first came out and to celebrate, an anniversary edition is being released. This is good news mainly because there'll be sci-fi fans like me who never got around to reading the book 10 years ago and this brings it back into the public eye for some potential new fans. Has that worked with me? You'll see.
The story sees mysterious portals opening up around Earth. Four hundred years before where the other half of this story takes place. Ed and Alice Rico drive a Land Rover through one in search of Ed's brother - Alice's husband - Verne, to falls into one of the portals when one opens in the London underground.
Four hundred years in the future, starship captain Katherine Abdulov embarks on a desperate race against a ruthless rival captain and former lover Victor Luciano, to try and earn back her family’s trust. How are these two stories linked? Well, you'll find out by reading, but they do come together eventually as a disaster in the future comes to a head - the Recollection, an ancient evil among the stars that threatens the survival of all life.
This is what space operas should be. There's a vast arcing plotline, travelling across the vastness of space and time, thanks to the time dilation of travelling in space. There are huge stakes on the line for each character, although some are only huge on a personal level. What stands out though is that even though the overall stake is that all life as we know it could die and that they all have their own problems to deal with before that, the story isn't bogged down by this. There's still plenty of focus on the characters with little looks at some of their pasts so you get more of a feeling of how much everything means to them.
Whilst most of the characters are relatable, Ed, unfortunately, isn't for the most part. You find out in the first chapter that he and Alice are having an affair. Unless you're having an affair with your brother's wife, which let's face it, is a line that should never be crossed, it's not relatable and makes him an awful person. However, his wanting to make things right with Verne and his worries about seeing him again are, so it's nicely balanced out.
What you get with The Recollection is a story that spans 400 years and across space with characters that care for each other, with the bonds of family and what it means to love people that you'd be willing to travel vast distances to make sure that those people are safe and happy, without being bogged down by lots of technical space talk about technology that is currently impossible. There's no padding, it's a short 300 odd page story that doesn't give you more than you need to know. Basically, what Space Opera should be. It's definitely worthy of having a 10-year anniversary edition and whilst disappointed that I didn't know about this 10 years ago, I'm pleased to have finally noticed and read it.