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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction


A Legend of the Future

Agustín de Rojas

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To purchase A Legend of the Future

Title: A Legend of the Future
Author: Agustín de Rojas
Genre: Novel
Written: 1985 (Eng. 2015)
Length: 225 pages
Original in: Spanish
Availability: A Legend of the Future - US
Una leyenda del futuro - US (Kindle)
A Legend of the Future - UK
A Legend of the Future - Canada
A Legend of the Future - India
Una leyenda del futuro - España (Kindle)
  • Spanish title: Una leyenda del futuro
  • Translated by Nick Caistor

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Our Assessment:

B : solid science fiction

See our review for fuller assessment.

The complete review's Review:

       Set largely in late 2038 and the beginning of 2039, A Legend of the Future centers on the crew of the Sviatagor, a spaceship on a mission to Titan, one of Saturn's moons. The expedition is both a test flight and an actual expedition. One of the concerns of interplanetary flight at the speeds they'd like to be travelling at is the damage that can be caused by hitting any sort of space debris, and the ship is a test-run of a special protective system to deal with that -- including a double-hull design, "with a layer of densiplasma between them", immediately filling any punctures.
       The ship does, however, sustain near-crippling damage en route -- and several members of the small crew are killed, with only three survivors. They, too, are variously and seriously injured in the accident, and must resort to desperate measures in order to bring the ship back to safety -- a return to earth being the best option, they decide.
       The novel also flashes back to the crew's much earlier training times, when the group dynamics and relationships first shaped themselves -- bonding as a group, and as couples. The present situation, a desperate race to preserve as much knowledge as possible and return it to earth, pushes the survivors to physical and psychological limits, too; only one -- if any -- might make it home, and even that requires a complete transformation of his very being.
       As one of the survivors notes:

What shall I do now ? If I intervene, I could disturb the balance of the group ... What group ?
       Distantly, there are only hints of the situation on earth, mentions of "negotiations between the World Communist Federation and the Empire". Aboard the ship, the survivors race to salvage what they can, with the knowledge that they themselves will not make it -- save the fundamentally altered one.
       Rojas keeps up decent suspense, and adds some interesting layers to his story: this is a novel full of questions of identity and humanity: "I've come to the conclusion that Thondup doesn't think I'm human", one character observes -- one of the central issues in the novel, in a nutshell --, while another is eventually essentially plugged into the spaceship itself. States of mind figure prominently, as physical forms prove to be frail shells to contain the human.
       A Legend of the Future is very much a novel of psychology, as also suggested by the flashback scenes that reveal both extensive psychological testing as well as the individual and group dynamics taking shape. Alongside that, there's still solid traditional science fiction excitement in the race to save what can be saved (though admittedly there are a few scenes on the level of: "Take the brain in your hands ... Carefully now, don't drop it, whatever you do" ...).
       An Epilogue flashes forward, several times, to a few weeks, a few decades, and finally millennia later, revealing the after-echo of the events aboard the Sviatagor, a nicely eerie conclusion, tying things up.
       A Legend of the Future is a solid, fairly ambitious -- both in its themes and its telling -- piece of science fiction that strikes a good balance between action-adventure, psychological insight, and quasi-technical and philosophical questions.

- M.A.Orthofer, 30 April 2015

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A Legend of the Future: Reviews: Other books by Agustín de Rojas under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       The father of Cuban science fiction, Agustín de Rojas lived 1949 to 2011.

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© 2015 the complete review

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