Building Harlequin’s Moon

Alternative Worlds

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Building Harlequin’s Moon
Larry Niven & Brenda Cooper
Tor, June 2005, $25.95, 464 pp.
ISBN: 0765312662

In Earth’s distant future, AI’s don’t always act in a manner that will help humanity, nanotechnology is out of control; and politics make the planet a very unsafe place to live. The machines that were designed to help mankind might very well be the seeds of their own destruction. Three spaceships flee earth heading for the planet Ymir vowing to do away with the advanced technologies that brought their home world to the brink of ruin.

The John Glen had a mishap that caused them to end up in a solar system dominated by the gas giant Harlequin. Gabriel, a terraformer, creates Selene out of the various moons. When Selene is habitable the High Council has the colonists breed children that are native to Selene. Their job is to help the Earthborn to build a collidor that will gather anti-matter to power the John Glenn so they can travel to their original destination. As the moonborn, who are little more than slaves, begin to realize their ultimate fate once they are left behind, a schism opens up between the two groups that could lead to violence unless the council takes a less militant attitude and rectifies the situation.

Larry Niven and Brenda Cooper are an excellent writing team. Readers are able to see how Selene is created from an uninhabited rock into a terraformed world capable of supporting humanity. The authors concentrate on world building and characterizations so that readers are privy to the birth of a new orb and how it was done. A sequel involving the planet Ymir would satisfy many readers’ curiosity about the eventual fate of the other two ships.
 
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