24 October 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge by Mike Resnick

Seven Views of Olduvai GorgeSeven Views of Olduvai Gorge by Mike Resnick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge is one of the most celebrated novellas ever written. It not only won both the Hugo and Nebula, but also the HOMer award and the SF Chronicle Poll and was a nominee for the Locus Award and the Sturgeon Award. It was also nominated for a number of international awards, winning the Ignotus and the Universitat Polytechnica Awards in Spain, the Prix Ozone Award in France and the Futura Award in Croatia.

In the far future, eons after the demise of Humanity and its far-flung galactic empire, a group of alien archeologists visits Earth to uncover the secret of the dead race's initial overwhelming success and its ultimate death. Digging through layers of archeological strata at Olduvai Gorge, they discover seven unique artifacts, each related to a different era of humanity's history and each telling a unique story about humankind's strengths and weaknesses. But are they prepared for their final discovery, which will change their worlds forever?

An excellent piece of short fiction from an excellent storyteller and it's clear to see why this story has won pretty much every major award possible. I found it fascinating to viewpoint looking back on our own species from the far future after we've built ourselves up, achieved so much and inherited the stars only to descend back to where we started. Ashes to ashes indeed. This story helps me to see our ignorance, the arrogance that we possess as a species. I never thought I would find the viewpoints and opinions of a group of aliens so enlightening. A great read and another example of how fiction in short form suits the science fiction genre so well. A very enjoyable read.

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