Which Art in Hope

Francis Porretto
Science fiction
Which Art in Hope by Francis Porretto

When the Federation fled Earth they had only the slimmest chance of finding a habitable world. 544 years later they found one; they named it Hope. However, Hope isn’t what it seemed. Earth plants wither; livestock fail to breed. For 40 precarious years they subsist until a secret Cabal learns how to elevate powerful psi talents to the management of Hope's crust. But after 1,200 years of abundance the pool of psi adepts has dwindled to two. One is utterly unwilling and the other is murderously insane. The survival of Mankind hangs in the balance.

Editor rating (1-5): 
Editor review: 

This is a great sci-fi novel with a strong dose of science, an engaging plot, and excellent prose. The plot revolves around two young psychics who are needed to run the planet's agricultural system. The underlying reason for why the planet is inimical to agriculture elevates the plot to a fascinating level. Most of the minor characters are developed with sufficient detail and back-stories to portray light- and dark-gray characters, although the dark side of some characters was pushed a little too far for my liking. The ending was in character but was not the ending I wanted. I don’t mean that in a negative sense; it is a good, heart-stirring ending, to an excellent sci-fi novel. I recommend this book.


A human story set in another world


The characters are what makes this novel tangible and gripping. Simple battles are fought on the school-front, starting with two men fighting over a girl, and then two girls competing for a man. Far from being petty, deep human traits are revealed in these interactions- aggression, self-worth, love and a stoicism in our quiet but true Armand.

I only meant to read a few pages, but could not put down the 'screen' (reading it online!) Well written and recommended.

It's what he said it is


Full disclosure: I'm a friend of Fran's.
Fuller disclosure: He asked me to read this book.
Fullest disclosure: I absolutely HATE science fiction.

I mostly read romance and mysteries. Fran asked me to read Which Art In Hope anyway. He called it "science fiction for people who hate sicence fiction," and suggested that it might be more to my taste than I thought.

He was right.

This is character-driven SF. It has very little tech crap in it. It's beautifully written. It's as involving emotionally as anything else I've ever read. And even if it's about the survival of a whole world that MIGHT be the last refuge of the human race, for me the stakes were about what would happen to Armand, Teresza, Charisse, and the rest of the major characters.

Hope is a surprising society, almost the exact opposite of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Huxley shows you something that looks really good on the surface, but it's a horror show underneath. Hope is the opposite: it looks modest, maybe even stark, on the surface...but the more I read about it, the more I wanted to make it my home. That's mostly why I'm writing this review at 2 AM.

Fans of ray guns, faster-than-light travel, time travel, and so forth should avoid this book. Fans of the human heart should put it at the top of their lists.