Share for friends:

Kethani (2008)

Kethani (2008)

Book Info

3.5 of 5 Votes: 3
Your rating
184416473X (ISBN13: 9781844164738)

About book Kethani (2008)

I'm not much of a SF reader. I've always maintained I didn't do SF, until I started reading my husband's Kris Longknife books and loved them. Since then I've been trying to expand my reading and try more SF. After reading Mark's reviews of Eric Brown's books over at Walker of Worlds, I really wanted to try his books and having read Cara's review of Kéthani over at Speculative Book Review, that seemed a good place to start. And if Kéthani is anything to go by, I think I need to read more of Brown's books. It was such an interesting read, that I kept turning pages, despite saying I'd put the book away at the end of the chapter. I was hooked.Kéthani is a collection and reworking of several interconnected short stories. Only the prologue, interludes, epilogue and one story were specifically written for this book. Yet despite this, the narrative never felt cobbled together, it was cohesive and if it hadn't been mentioned, I wouldn't have guessed. The book doesn't feel very SF-y, since it is more a psychological study of man's reaction to the choice of immortality. The SF seems incidental to this. Something else that contributes to this is that the book feels cosy, for lack of a better word. It's all set in this little village in the English countryside and since many of the stories are set in winter, with snow, cold and roaring hearth fires, this feeling of small-scale cosiness is only reinforced.Brown provides no direct explanations, no info dumps, we find things out through the narrative. And while each chapter answers some questions, it always raises more. The alien technology is kept deliberately vague and Earth seems to remain relatively low-tech; apart from the implants and the Onward stations, there doesn't seem to be any real alien technology on Earth. In the end most of my practical questions were answered. For example, I kept wondering how Earth hadn't exploded population-wise and whether they were truly immortal. At the end I knew, the answers were there in the stories.The moral questions raised by Kéthani remain largely unanswered however. We are told how the characters in the book handle them, but this is largely conveyed without any judgement attached. It is left to the reader to form an opinion about the right or wrong of their actions and whether the coming of the Kéthani is ultimately a good thing for humanity. This is what made the book so compelling and thought-provoking. I found my thoughts going back to mull over some of the characters dilemmas and choices even after I'd finished Kéthani. That is the quiet power of this book; at it's core it isn't about aliens, it's about humanity.Apart from its thought-provoking themes, Kéthani also contains some cracking stories. From a locked-room mystery to a quiet romance, to the heart-rending story of a father and his mortally-ill daughter, they all have something to keep the reader's attention. I absolutely adored this book and I'll be sure to pick up more of Eric Brown's books when I can. I highly recommend this book, even if you're normally not much of an SF reader, the story is a great introduction to SF and to the work of Eric Brown and definitely worth the read.

"At first I thought the speed with which the Kéthani's implants became universal was a little bit unlikely. After all, given the overly mysterious nature of the aliens, and the fact that every major religion in the world opposed them, wouldn't people be a bit more reluctant? If you believe in a spiritual afterlife, don't you also believe it's supposed to be better than physical life? But the book changed my mind: I think if physical immortality became a real possibility, doubts would fade pretty quickly after the first resurectees returned. Most people, I think, would look at it as a question of economics rather than spirituality, and would hedge their bets: better the proven afterlife than the supposed one (which, by the way, the Kéthani don't believe in). But that quickly becomes pretty extreme: a decade or two after the Kéthani arrive, people begin committing suicide in order to move on to resurrection and a life in the stars. This makes the Kéthani look pretty ghoulish: couldn't there be another way to get us into space, one that didn't lead to this kind of self-directed violence?"For the full review, go to:

Do You like book Kethani (2008)?

The premise and the opening chapter engaged me. The focus on ordinary people of rural Britain would be good. I like books where the protagonist(s) is someone like me (except I'm not British). I appreciated how the concept of being resurrected as often as necessary affected species-long assumptions and supposed limitations. However, I feel about this book like I did after viewing the last episodes of the ABC series "Lost". I felt that I had been provoked to think differently about some things, but the story feels unfinished. There are also hints dropped that are not resolved. Who really are the Kethani? (Who were the good and bad entities on the Lost island?) It doesn't seem to matter to the author but it matters to me. The book works on the level of provoking philosophical/religious speculation, but it fails badly in inspiring human readers toward a better future on earth. Maybe the author is tricking us like the Kethani character tricks the main characters into killing themselves in the last chapter so they can become cosmic evangelists. Maybe he wants to turn us from the hope that physical immortality would be good for human souls.
—Russ Jarvis

The cover blurb says this book is "a future classic" and I have to say "Meh" to that. This book is interesting and I enjoyed it, but unlike many other books I've read, I have zero interest in ever reading Kethani again. I think that perhaps my opinion is flawed by a liking for the more action-oriented stories rather than this slower-moving tale where very little overtly happens. It's a psychological study more than anything else, a study in first person by a group of people who are alive during the arrival of an alien race, the kethani, who offer man a bootstrap to the stars. The price? They have to accept tech that gives man immortality. They die and are resurrected new and improved by the kethani.It's interesting how the author deals with the changes the loss of death cause in people. Some deny it, some accept it, some have to face their flaws--but while it's enjoyable, it isn't wonderful to me. I wouldn't call it a classic, and I wouldn't say this is ground that hasn't been trodden many times before in other sf stories. It is, however, a good, solid and enjoyable read.

I found the concept quite interesting. It was the story of a group of friends and how they are affected by the choice of immortality. This book I thought was very good, and at times I could not put it down. Unfortunetly, it never amounted to much. There was no grand finale or explanation behind the reasons humaity was given the choice of immortality. I was also disappointed that the only religious points of view were crazy extreme Catholics. There was one priest and a "not so good" Buddhist, but overall, I felt that more of a Lutheran view would have been a good path to explore. The individual stories were interesting, but the ending was disappointing without many answers to the entire alien race offering immortality as a whole. But maybe I've just watched too many episodes of V and other sci fi alien oppresion movies...
—J. Else

download or read online

Read Online

Write Review

(Review will shown on site after approval)

Other books by author Eric Brown

Other books in category Fantasy