My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was truly an incredible book. Starplex was a rare exploration of the Space Opera sub-genre, and as Robert J. Sawyer intended, did not focus on a military plot as the central theme, but rather, a peaceful group of scientists who’s mission was to make peaceful contact with other races via a vast network of ‘shortcuts’ or stargate type devices. Yes, there is certainly space combat and battles, but what makes this book so different is the anchoring in real science fiction roots — at it’s core it’s about science, and the extrapolation and exploration of ‘what-if’ scenarios. It seeks to tease apart answers to current scientific knowledge.
To say this book was riveting was an understatement. I read it in 24 hours, and wished there was a whole series like it. But alas, this book is, and must be, fully self-contained. Starplex plucks the most melodious strings of science fiction, and turns them into a symphony for the mind.
The various races described in the novel were also fascinating, each with distinct cultures and idiosyncrasies. Sawyer is a man with an incredible imagination.
Almost 20 years after publication this book remains singular and utterly engaging.