The control room was in crisis. The door was being barricaded with anything Ro’ald’s people could drag in front of it.
“Captain. We’re doing everything we can, but the Brotherhood’s here. We can’t wait any longer.” Ro’ald raked his hair back with one hand. “You have to take off now.”
There was a loud crash. Ro’ald glanced at the door behind him. He turned back to Bel’lar. “Good luck to you. And may the seeds of mankind prosper in your care.”
“It will be what it is,” Bel’lar responded, putting his hand upon the globe in the center of the panel. In the back of his mind was the memory of another ship leaving a planet with the seeds of mankind on board. An icy shiver ran down his back. Then he sat back and allowed the ship to begin her transformation. With a low muffled hum, the ship seemed to wake, creating an electrical field that generated momentum, lifting it off its stationary blocks. She rose up into the air, glowed white-yellow, achieved rotation, and was gone.
Back in the control room, the door burst open, and Brotherhood guards charged into the room. Only to find it empty.
Humanity is in trouble. On the home planet resources are running low. People have had to resort to living on synthetic food and nutrition. Over the course of many generations this synthetic sustenance and the contaminated air has affected them at the genetic level, creating a group of people with stocky bodies, thinning hair and low intellect. They are referred to as “Syns”, for Synthetic. Our heroes, a ragtag bunch of explorers, are “Organs” or people who have adhered to an organic way of life, avoiding the synthetic food and enhancements. Led by Captain Bel’lar they will travel to the blue-white planet, which they suspect might be suitable for human habitation. A place where humans can start again. Bel’lar is a military man and in his team he has selected a first officer and engineer, a biologist, an alien called Dobeman and two mystic “sensitives” Ka’aya and Ry Sing. When they arrive at their destination however, their adventure becomes more complicated than they could have imagined, tied up in the history of their race, a history of destruction that seems destined to repeat itself.
The concepts in this sci fi novel are so, so fun. So out there. This space ship, the Light Traveller, is intuitive, it is like JK Rowling’s room of requirement. It travels at beyond the speed of light, so fast that it was like the passengers were standing still and, as Dobeman says, “time is the traveller; time is the force that moves us”. In the novel there is a race of beings who can live multidimensional lives simultaneously, and individuals who can live more than one within the same body, or without a body entirely. When the crew of the Light Traveller arrives back to the home world they discover a totally changed planet. While from their perspective they have been away a year, nearly 350 years has passed on the home planet. And a great deal has changed. It turns out they will have to fight the system and save what is left of humanity from itself.
“We have transcended light. The journey has begun,” Bel’lar announced. “I hope Light Traveller is taking us to the blue-white planet, for I have no control over this craft.”
“It is well you understand that, Bel’lar,” said Ka’aya. “Light Traveller is not mechanical or even physical. She is the emotions, the essence of all that is alive. She transports life from one begging to the end and from the end to the beginning. We are merely passengers, visitors in time on this ship flying through the vastness of space to her destination. The journey will be fruitful, creating the experiences you wish. So enjoy. It is all in the hands of the ship.” Ka’aya folded his hands and rested them in his lap, his demeanour one of allowance and peace.
The problem with the novel is that while the concepts were imaginative, and had a lot of potential to go places, the execution was dry. Lindler writes in a strange, formal, style that becomes grating after a time. How exactly do you fold your hands with a demeanour of “allowance”? It was like a really great story told in the style of a religious text, or an academic work. One that could use a good editor; the novel is peppered with repetition, misplaced punctuation and clunky sentences. The plot meanders. It doesn’t feel like it’s building towards a climax and then suddenly the characters are travelling on the astral plane and running around in skin suits and you think, wow, this could have been so, so much better. The thing is, the concepts are so great; sci fi and fantasy fans might find a great deal to enjoy here. Ultimately, it is a story about how destructive humanity can be, how self centered. And that’s a valuable tale to tell. I just wish it had been told a little more artfully.
We Are The Destroyers, D. K. Lindler: two stars.
Read it for: original space travel, mystic wonder, pan-dimensional beings and an alien with a penchant for fudge icicles.
I was supplied with a paperback version by the publisher for review.