Real Laplaine’s Foray into the Big Questions
Was it God, the Big Bang, or something else? Are we the makers of our own destiny or someone/something else? Why does evil exist? Real LaPlaine’s novel “Earth Escape” suggests one novel answer: SPOILER
“we” are the collective authors of the universe we know, created to EXPERIENCE all that we can conceive. Obviously, we can conceive evil, and juxtaposition of “good” and “bad” experiences enrich the perception of both. END SPOILER
IMO M. Laplaine’s conclusion is in the same category of explanations of the universe as my own current theory that sentient beings are instruments created to detect the limitless contours of the universe (akin to Points of View in a literary work, or the koan about the four blind men and the elephant). However, our theories have very different implications given that I am agnostic about “who” or what created us. So here’s the book review:
Earth Escape is a spiritual and philosophical journey like Robert M. Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, but set in boundless outer space. The protagonist is Jim Tale, captain of Earth’s first colony ship. An astronaut and explorer in the mold of men from the 1960s, Captain Tale is an individualist in the autumn of his life, haunted by the long-ago death of his wife and the meaning of life. His only real “relationship” is with his starship’s AI, who manifests to him as an echo of his wife. And then Captain Tale makes first contact with humanoid aliens.
Well-paced and plotted, Earth Escape carries the reader through Captain Tale’s exploration of ultimate truths. However, the novel suffers from unnecessarily long introductory passages. In addition, for those sensitive to grammar and diction, recurring poor word choices and occasional poor proofreading jolt one out of the story. Finally, inconsistent science—like the unexplained presence of the colony ship’s AI on an alien scout ship, the failure to explain how humans could instantly adapt to a planet two and a half times the size of Earth when that means roughly two and a half times the gravity, and the failure to appreciate the actual distance between galaxies—undermines the persuasive force of the novel’s vision.