H.D. Klein
Googol (2000)
Reviewed: 2002-01-29

In 2000, H.D. Klein burst out of nowhere onto the German SF scene with this hefty thousand-page novel. In the mid-21st century, the nation states have crumbled, power is now mostly in the hands of large corporations. Captain John Nurminen of Space Cargo is sent on a secret mission to lead the experimental vessel Nostradamus to a rendezvous with a mysterious object, a giant pyramid, that has entered the solar system. This is a first novel, and Klein tries to pour all his ideas into it. We get the Big Dumb Object, pyramids on Mars, a ship with a revolutionary new drive nobody really understands, a mad scientist, telepathy, an oddball crew, betrayal, mutiny, and a world conspiracy with shady involvement of the Vatican.

The author's grip on the involved science is tenuous, the pseudo-science not plausible. The story is vaguely reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey and reasonably entertaining. Where it falls apart is the writing. Klein's style can at best be described as immature. Too often there is an annoyingly ill-chosen turn of words. The author can't write credible dialog to save his life. The characters are walking cardboard zombies, experiencing occasional spells of animation when they turn into a bunch of unruly children. Captain Nurminen, from whose vantage point the first-person account is told, appears incompetent and has no leadership qualities whatsoever. Unfortunately, I don't think Klein intended it this way.

Devoted fan fiction, yes, but hardly up to the standards expected from a professional publication.

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Christian "naddy" Weisgerber <naddy@mips.inka.de>