Review: Limit / Author: Frank Schatzing / Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books / Release Date: Out Now
This novel by noted German writer Frank Schatzing has built up a loyal following in its native language. Now translated and released in English, and with recent interest in space at new heights in both fact and fiction, does Schatzing’s work boldly cross frontiers or does it remain lost in translation?
The story sees the Earth reach a new dawn in the year 2025; the world’s first space elevator provides a new way in which to launch the human race into space by connecting our fair planet with the Moon. However, with this new frontier comes a new space race; China and the USA are now scrounging the Moon for helium-3, the answer to our long-running energy problems. Meanwhile in Shanghai, the search for a missing girl leads detective Owen Jericho into the talons of a secret society known as Hydra whose plans become dangerously linked to the Moon and helium-3.
Limit has the wonderful quality of possessing extremely vivid detail. It’s able to blend fact with fiction and the fantastic with the real, all into a world which you could genuinely believe we'll be inhabiting in just over a decade’s time. The state of the world, with China and the USA still being the superpowers, allows Schatzing to develop a new Cold War which takes the space race of yesteryear to extremely plausible new heights. Meanwhile, the noir-ish story of detective Owen Jericho evokes memories of Harrison Ford in Blade Runner without borrowing from that film directly.
Where Limit lets itself down (for this reviewer at least) is in the longevity of the story. At a whopping 1135 pages, it's a book for those who love an epic read. Those who don't may feel that some of the plot threads go on for too long or simply aren’t necessary in the first place.
To wrap things up, Limit is extremely original in its plot and its blend of fact and fantasy has you re-evaluating the current state of technology. However, it does go on (in parts) longer than is necessary; one has to wonder whether the book could’ve been developed as a trilogy or two-parter. Nevertheless, Limit is a very welcome gift from our German sci-fi cousins.