Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Top 60 Novels of 2000-2009 Countdown, No. 29

Eifelheim by Michael Flynn

I only have three or four SF titles on this list, and this book is the only one that falls in the alien counter genre. (I read Marsbound by Joe Haldeman, and it missed the list by the distance between here and Mars.) This beautifully imagined novel follows parallel tracks: a village priest in the Middle Ages encounters, along with his town, a race of aliens who crash near their town; and a modern researcher finds an anomaly on a map of Germany and pursues the reasons why. The novel mixes the tragedy of a first encounter before human technology has developed enough to be of any use and the love of a pre-Enlightenment Christian response to something freakish and alien. A sense of doom pervades the book, although there's a spark of hope at the end; and how can you beat a novel wherein William of Ockham makes a cameo?

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