cover image In the Belly of the Whale

In the Belly of the Whale

Michael Flynn. CAEZIK SF & Fantasy, $19.97 trade paper (306p) ISBN 978-1-64710-101-5

The thought-provoking final novel from Heinlein Medalist Flynn (1947–2023) speaks volumes through its formidable application of hard science fiction principles to softer sociology. Following 2013’s In the Lion’s Mouth, Flynn sets this meditation on human corruptibility within a hollowed-out asteroid, the Whale, on a centuries-long journey to colonize the planet Tau Ceti. Now several generations into the voyage, the Whale has suffered the “Big Burnout.” A tenth of the ship has been largely abandoned by its 40,000 other inhabitants, whose diverse ancestors were initially selected for the voyage to avoid inbreeding. But stratification of the Whale’s population has set in, with selfish actions of the privileged classes fueling rebellion in their underlings and threatening the entire enterprise. Flynn’s rapid cuts between his main characters—an upright detective, doomed young lovers, unscrupulous politicians, a resourceful NCO—provide a captivating human panorama of this city-in-a-ship, while his convincing scientific lore reveals fascinating what-ifs about space travel and colonization. Pursuing humanity’s redemption to its final interstellar frontier, Flynn delivers an impressive and original epic. (July)