By Michael Flynn.
A few months ago, I enjoyed reading Michael Flynn's book Eifelheim. Recently I saw his name again and decided to check out some more books by him.
As you might guess from the title, this book is a tragedy. What's perhaps unique about it is that (almost?) every character has a tragic flaw. While the story has a lot to do with the sailors' attempts to bring the ship safely to port (which chiefly involves shedding enough momentum in time to stop at Jupiter when it's at the right place in its orbit), it also has a lot to do with their backgrounds and characters. In fact, I would say this story is more about the characters than about the science fictional elements, which are more of a backdrop. It starts a little slowly (I had trouble keeping track of all the characters being thrown at me) but picks up steam a ways in.
There is a lot of sex. In fact, I almost stopped reading when the self-destructive ship's doctor decides to seduce the only passenger with her private drug cocktail within the first 10 pages. For some reason I didn't, and I eventually started caring about what happened to the characters—at least, some of them. The Igbo girl particularly is amazingly and amusingly perceptive about what drives the other people on the ship. Even though you know the ship will be wrecked (if not in the sense of being destroyed, perhaps, the crew is certainly destroyed), there is something about this book that keeps you hoping everyone will survive.
If you enjoy tragedies and science fiction that focuses on characters (it was fairly apparent that the captain was going to be a central character in the story when he died in the first few pages), you might like this book. On the other hand, it also has (seemingly) realistic science—no faster-than-light travel or fusion drives that don't require fuel. However, I probably won't be reading it again: the often gratuitous sex ("I can't be pregnant! He's too young to father a child!") combined with the tragedy makes it somewhat unpalatable.