Mine By Lin Sten
Why do we read Sci-Fi? Escapism, the postulation of outlandish ideas based on theoretical science…laser guns?
The great thing about Sci-Fi is that there is something in there for everyone. If you want intergalactic space operas please see Mr Peter F Hamilton. For those looking for the postulation and “what if” scenario then we go to Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein. For a “how to” guide of colonising Mars we consult Kim Stanley Robinson.
Lin Sten’s Mine fits neatly into the “what if” category of the above.
We follow Selena Castillo, who claims to be an extraterrestrial whose home planet and species was wiped out, as she tries to persuade the world that she is really is an E.T. with the help of Tony Sturgess, a reporter for the ” Natural Enquirer”. At the same time Prof Hal Bronson and his student Dora have discovered that the experiments at CERN could be a ticking time bomb that could destroy Earth. The two meet when Hal postulates that the radio silence persisting at SETI is the result of other civilisations high energy experiments going wrong and killing them all; Selena might be the only survivor from just such a civilisation.
I enjoyed Mine because I came at it thinking of it as a “what if” book. These books tend not to be as plot based but instead focus on a hypothetical event and how it might play out in our society. Mine poses a series of these “what if” questions as we follow Selena through her trials (both actual and metaphorical) as she tries to prove she is not of Earth.
And for that the book is very intelligently written and will genuinely make you think about what it is to be human and our place on the planet. There are some parts where the commentary needs cutting down, some dodgy romance moments and the odd paragraph needs to be inserted, but on the whole the book is well paced and has some very interesting characters.
One of the major plus points, for me anyway, was that the book isn’t dumbed down at all. It really explains the theory behind what is being discussed, especially the issues around CERN. It would have been so easy to skip over these with a “this things going to blow up” moment, but we get special relativity and the many universes hypothesis.
Mine is the book for you if you like the “what if” scenarios and a bit of hard sci-fi.
Overall, a very solid 3/5.