Tor, Mar 2002, 25.95, 352 pp.
By 2817 humanity bravely goes where no one has gone before as slower than the speed of light colony ships traverse the stars. Most of the space travelers lie in suspended animation awaiting the moment of awakening. One of those ships Hope has landed on a planet Ararat that appears favorable for human habitation though the eerie ruins of a great civilization scar the surface.
After a murder occurs in the fledgling colony, Matthew Fleury is awakened to replace the victim. Being an ecologist he begins to search for clues as to the identity of the killer fearing he could be next as his position might be the motive for the homicide. He wonders if the killer is a human who wants to leave, one who want to stay, or perhaps a sentient native. Matt begins a journey amidst the strange planet seeking the truth.
The fifth in Brian Stableford's futuristic Emortality science fiction series, DARK ARARAT is a cerebral tale with plenty of action and adventure starring a wonderful though egocentric hero. The story line employs a scientific grounded ecosystem based on dual coded genome rather than the earthly DNA. That makes for quite an alien trip as everything appears different to the senses yet seems so real. The mystery adds a twisting depth yet cleverly ties back to the prime plot of exploring Ararat. This novel may be the best story in one of the great series of the last decade, as Mr. Stableford returns to the roots of science fiction by encouraging his audience to philosophize about what is life within a powerhouse of an adventure.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner