Publisher: Tor Books
Author Links: Goodreads | Website
When seventeen-year-old Toby McGonigal finds himself lost in space, separated from his family, he expects his next drift into cold sleep to be his last. After all, the planet he’s orbiting is frozen and sunless, and the cities are dead. But when Toby wakes again, he’s surprised to discover a thriving planet, a strange and prosperous galaxy, and something stranger still—that he’s been asleep for 14,000 years.
Welcome to the Lockstep Empire, where civilization is kept alive by careful hibernation. Here cold sleeps can last decades and waking moments mere weeks. Its citizens survive for millennia, traveling asleep on long voyages between worlds. Not only is Lockstep the new center of the galaxy, but Toby is shocked to learn that the Empire is still ruled by its founding family: his own.
Toby’s brother Peter has become a terrible tyrant. Suspicious of the return of his long-lost brother, whose rightful inheritance also controls the lockstep hibernation cycles, Peter sees Toby as a threat to his regime. Now, with the help of a lockstep girl named Corva, Toby must survive the forces of this new Empire, outwit his siblings, and save human civilization.
Karl Schroeder's Lockstep is a grand innovation in hard SF space opera.
About halfway through Lockstep, I realized that I wasn't smart enough to understand it. That makes it sort of hard to review.
The whole Lockstep system was totally confusing to someone with my limited brain power. See, the people on these planets hibernate for X amount of years (30 or so, I think), and then thaw out. They live their lives normally for about a month or so before jumping into a hibernation bed again.
Wash. Rinse Repeat.
But the problem comes when you add in the planets that don't operate on that same Lockstep. Maybe they only stay asleep of 10 years before they thaw out. Or (like what happens in the story) a planet is punished, and their systems are reset so that they wake faster than everyone else in the galaxy. So now they are aging faster than friends and family that are on a planet that isn't as fast. And then some of the ships get set to a different frequency as a double punishment.
So they are aging faster? Slower? What?!
And then there's Fast planets that just kind of go on without Locksteps.
I couldn't keep up with the numbers, quite frankly.
And here's where my brain started making this Pop! Pop! Fizz! noise.
I'm just not that good at all that Math stuff. I'm one of the few 'Homemakers' that I know that isn't in charge of the family finances, if that tells you anything.
Stand down Feminists friends!
It's not that my husband is a neanderthal that thinks he's better at that stuff than me simply because he's a man.
He thinks he better at that stuff than me...because he REALLY is better at that stuff than me.
He went to a training thing out of state for a few months...
And I found out that there's no such thing as 'Kinda Sorta Right' when it comes to balancing a checkbook.
Love you, Hon!
The story itself was ingenious! Or at least it seemed that way to me.
'Cause lets face it, I may not exactly be the best judge of that.
But the world-building was really fantastic and detailed.
Although, I tend to skim that sort of thing.
Anyway. The part of the story that I did understand was the family problems between Toby and his siblings.
Well. Actually, I'm an only child. So. Yeah, I don't have any personal experience with siblings.
But at least I could add up how many people were in his immediate family, damn it!
Ha! So there!
This isn't a series, so the ending wraps things up nicely. I actually really appreciated that.
Because now I can move on and read something that doesn't make my grey matter all ouchie.
Although, I did think the ending was a bit unrealistic in it's Happily Ever After.
I'd recommend this one for people who are much smarter than me, and like stories that end well.