Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Reaching Angelica

In Peter Riva’s first sequel to The Path, Simon Bank awakens from a century-large coma in a large spaceship with Alpha Centauri B as its destination features a motley crew including the telepathic dog Zip, Simon’s adversary Cramer, and a computer entity called Ra that currently occupies a human body and terms herself Aten. Others promptly hail him as a hero, and he’s tasked with saving the universe from a race of superior beings he unintentionally awakened before it’s too late. The only thing Simon is able to do to resolve matters is to cross into other dimensions with his mind, with the fate of all life hanging in the balance as he does so.

Like its predecessor, Reaching Angelica is narrated by protagonist Simon Bank, who notes that humankind has chosen to alter its own history, and early on goes to the Imperial Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg, Russia, two centuries home to humanity’s best minds. The reader ultimately learns that individuals in this novel’s universe can transfer their memories before they die, with Simon himself tearful at his own recollections. Early on, backstory is exposed about an occurrence known as “the Event,” where Princeton computer experts created an intricate computer system to make life easier for Americans, with the USA consequentially expanding.

It also becomes obvious that Simon is not a normal human, and must “die” in order to be transported to the titular Angelica colony, with the aforementioned century-long time-skip occurring a few chapters in, and the story smoothly flowing afterward. Things can be somewhat confusing to those that haven’t read the previous book in the series, although those who did enjoy the first installment will most likely enjoy its sequel, with Simon being a sympathetic protagonist, especially by those who don’t consider themselves “normal” humans, and the book is thus recommended to science-fiction enthusiasts.

Peter Riva has worked for more than thirty years with the leaders in aerospace and space exploration. His daytime job for more than forty years has been as a literary agent. He resides in New York City.

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