Received via NetGalley from the Open Road Media in exchange for an honest and completely unbiased review.
Also posted on Silk & Serif
Finches of Mars is the work of science fictions most eminent authors. I researched Aldiss upon completion of this book and learned that most of his books require analysis and intellectual musings. The concept of all the Universities in the world sending people to Mars to colonize only to discover child birth nearly impossible. Children are the future of any colonization effort, so how will they survive? Obviously, the effects of countless still births is an under explored concept. Unfortunately, perhaps Aldiss should have turned his eye to a different topic for his final book.
Aldiss weaves a story that is at times incoherent and often feels like two books set into one. The author spends plenty of time on plenty of issues such as theology, philosophy and sociology but falls short in connecting all these ideas into a steady stream throughout the book. Although Aldiss compares the colonizers of Tharsis to the Galapagos Finches from Darwin's Origin of Species the ending does very little to sustain this collation.
However, the book's messages are extremely relevant to today's concerns regarding global warming, over population and religious strife. The tacit writing style was thought provoking. However, the overall story line was weak because there was only a rarely revisited concept linking all these character's experiences together: Darwinism. The ending was abrupt and tried to link Darwinism to the Tharsis colony, but failed miserably. I didn't hate this book, it just lacked a common thread to link all the random character experiences together.
My suggestion would be read this book when you want something to inspire thoughtfulness, but aren't particularly picky about the story arch being a common thread. This book would appeal to readers who enjoy science fiction, literary analysis, deep sociological issues, philosophy or Aldiss' earlier work. Farewell Brian W Aldiss from the realm of science fiction, you will be missed!