I’m about 30% of the way into Darwinia (I say into because wow is this book a world unto itself. it feels like I’m exploring a lost one). Also because Kindle doesn’t actually list you page counts it lists the % of the way through the book.
Obviously, I wanted to discuss my thoughts, so far. Whew… No Spoiler concerns, for once. Here, I can’t really give any spoilers because I’m only about 1/3 of my way through Darwinia.
Darwinia, by Robert Charles Wilson, is DENSE. That’s my first thought. Intriguing, but definitely dense. Not in a negative connotation but in a “I’m not sure you could pack any more information into these pages” kind of dense.
The book opens with most, if not all, of 1912 Europe being swallowed in a strange light and being replaced with a strange, unexplored, alien environment. London: Gone. Germany: Gone. World center of power in 1912: Gone.
Darwinia follows two alternating (perhaps entangled, though not yet) stories: one of a ‘maybe’ charlatan, who hears the voice of his god and uses it to enact an unknown divine plan. The second a photographer gone to the New Continent (nicknamed Darwinia) to explore and (obviously) photograph.
I was immediately immersed in and enthralled by this familiar but strange world. Right now, I have more questions than answers.
Questions abound. Did God create this Miracle? Does our seer actually see things and talk with God? (Personally, I’m inclined to agree yes but who knows this early.) Did the New Continent spring from nothing? Or did it evolve on a parallel world? Is there an active political revolution being plotted? Are our main characters villains or heroes or just woeful bystanders caught up in the machination of extinct superpowers?
The good news is, I’m on board to find out what these answers are. The better news is that so far, Darwinia is written and constructed with such meticulous detail that I’m forced to believe that Wilson has these answers and in spade. There doesn’t exist a feeling of unease that the author is haphazardly laying track and seeing where it goes. This book has me by the imagination. Let’s see what’s out there on the next page.