THE CAVE OF STARS by George Zebrowski

The cave of stars is an unusual science fiction novel. It combines political comments with the author’s fascination for space habitats.

The earth has been destroyed a long time ago and humanity scattered accross the universe. Some, like the Cetians, have established new lives on planets and brought with them their traditions. The Cetians have an old tradition of Catholicism and their latest Pope Peter III is no more open minded that the previous ones. So when a gigantic space ship containing millions of humans living the life of their choices comes into orbit, Peter III is « skeptical » as to the « faith » of their far away brothers.

A representant of the space module visits with the Pope in order to secure an area of the planet for colonisation by some of the space voyagers. But it leads to disaster as the Pope has a hidden agenda… and a hidden daughter.

This is such a critical book that I was glad not to be a strong religious person and especially not a practicing catholic. This book makes the Papacy look backward and openly criticizes the way it keeps the people in fear of technology and progress. I loved the way the author depicted the contrast between the two civilizations. On one side, the Cetians who are engulfed in dogmas and reject progress of any kind, with a papacy that keeps them in ignorance. On the other side, the people from the space module, so highly technologically advanced. They don’t age, don’t reproduce (or at least very rarely and not in the old-fashioned way) and have total liberty with their choices in life. They can even be « birds » if they want to!

I did enjoy this novel tremendously as it was full of good ideas and the author gave depth to each important character whether it be Cetians or visitor.

I recommend this book if you really want to escape and think at the same time.


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