cover image BORROWED TIDES


Paul Levinson, BORROWED TIDESPaul Levinson

Politics blends neatly with spirituality in Levinson's provocative second novel (after The Silk Road), about the first manned interstellar flight to a planet in the Alpha Centauri star system. Two septuagenarians, first acquainted in childhood, head the crew: Aaron Schoenfeld, whom the U.S. president has chosen on the strength of his philosophical arguments for space exploration, and Jack Lumet, an anthropologist who has incorporated the mystical teachings of Iroquois Indians into his worldview. It is Lumet's insights into the Indians' beliefs regarding the cyclical nature of travel on river currents extrapolated to a cosmic level that enable a final American commitment to the trip. In order to maintain continued support of space exploration, a live crew that will be able to return must undertake this voyage. Once underway the other seven members of the crew face personal conflicts regarding the validity of the theoretical constructs adapted from spiritual sources. These doubts culminate in an attempted mutiny. None of the events leading up to the revolt fall into genre clichés, as all of the characters are well drawn and their motivations are believable. But the real surprises come on reaching the star system after eight years of travel. The author has created an ingenious narrative that loops back on itself like a Möbius strip. Readers will enjoy working through the unexpected paradoxes the characters find themselves in and watching how each character individually chooses to resolve the shared predicament during the journey homeward. (Mar. 13)