Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

Title:  Sleeping Giants
Author:  Sylvain Neuvel
Pages:  304
Publisher:  Del Rey
Genre:  Science Fiction
Format:  Hardcover
Source:  Book of the Month Club


A young girl named Rose is riding her bike in the woods.  She falls into the earth, waking up at the bottom of a large hole.  When firemen come to rescue her, they see a giant metal hand at the bottom of the hole, cradling Rose in its palm.

Fast-forward seventeen years.  This metal hand is still a mystery.  Carbon dating doesn't seem plausible.  Little Rose is now a physicist and she's on a team trying to figure out the purpose of this giant hand.  Why does it exist?  Who made it?  How did it get here?  As pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place, decisions will have to be made about how this discovery will be used - an instrument of peace, or weapon of mass destruction?


I really enjoyed Sleeping Giants.  The entire story is told through interviews, reports, and journal entries.  I've spoken with a few people who didn't enjoy this format, but I really liked it.  It was a change from what I usually read, and it was refreshing for me.  The interviews are all conducted by the same person.  We don't learn his name, or any details about his involvement in the project - but we get to know him as a character.  I loved how Neuvel was able to make the reader get to know a character with such limited information and detail.  He's not directly involved in the action, but he's still very involved in the project.

Sleeping Giants is such an interesting premise.  Something is discovered, it's massive in scale, and it's pretty obvious that it wasn't created by human hands, or even on earth.  How do you figure out the purpose of such a thing when you have absolutely no information to go on?

In addition to being an intersting story, Sleeping Giants asks what would we, as human beings, do in this situation.  When stumbling across something so mysterious and massive, there are really two types of people - folks who will try to use the information to advance humanity, and those who will want to exploit the discovery for power and intimidation.  Seeing this moral dilema unfold was just as interesting as piecing together the project itself.

I don't read a lot of science fiction, but I really enjoyed this book.  Here's an indication of how good it is - I have been up at 2am nursing a newborn, this newborn falls asleep in my arms, and instead of rushing back to bed, I keep my eyes open to finish the chapter.  If that's not an endorsement, I don't know what is!

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