In the future, man has out grown Earth, leading to forced immigration programs to colonize other worlds, all throughout the universe. Society has been classified into echelons, which determine desirability and status, both on Earth and on the new worlds. People live on top of each other, clinging together in communities, as we always have, setting the stage for a plague of epic proportions. A fever virus sweeps the universe, turning whole cities of people to dust…the survival rate is staggeringly low, less than 1%. The only people who survive are those who are able to quarantine themselves…so it is that desire for human companionship that brings about the downfall of whole communities and worlds.
Against this bleak backdrop, The Space Between the Stars, explores how humanity might seek to reestablish itself, and what choices survivors might be faced with. Should society force people into breeding programs, and to accept jobs that they do not want, for the good of whole? Or should people set up small communes of like minded people, in which everyone has the ability to contribute what they wish? Does money and property retain value? Who should be in charge…should the formerly wealthy and better educated automatically receive advantages? And through all of these quandaries runs the question of religion, and what role God played in the calamity of the plague, and how his will should (or should not) shape the future.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! In addition to its probing of the deep questions listed above, it also features a slow building love story, moments of cliff hanger worthy action, and a somewhat violent (but satisfying) conclusion. The Space Between the Stars is thought provoking, in ways that will have you thinking about what it means to be a member of the human race long after you have read the last page…definitely a worthy addition to your summer must-read list!