Review Archive


Singularity’s Ring

Paul Melko

Tor/Forge Books

US First Edition Hardcover

ISBN 978-0-7653-1773-3

320 Pages; $24.95

Publication Date: 02-05-2008

Date Reviewed: 03-04-2008

Reviewed by: Richard Gingell © 2008

Index: Science Fiction References: 03-14-08

"Singularity", in the title of Paul Melko’s debut novel, posits a future in which a sudden marked acceleration in technological progress occurred when the majority of the human population formed itself into a mentally connected synergistic "community". This resulted in a profound, almost cataclysmic, change to the human condition; there’s an artificial ring around the earth and the "community" of 60 billion people has disappeared, either billions have died or they have sublimated into something unknowable. Thirty years after this event, with structure returned to what’s left of civilization, the human population is divided into "pods" (genetically enhanced groups of two to five individuals which act as one) and "singletons" (normal, but second class, humans).

In this world, we meet the young Apollo Papadopulos, a pod of five training to become a starship captain; suffice it to say that there are forces attempting to interfere with this, things don’t go well and Apollo has fight for his (her/its?) life. At this point, the novel becomes part mystery and part adventure yarn, with strong sci-fi overtones.
The tale is told from Apollo’s perspective with other pods being seen as composite entities rather than their constituent individuals. However, Apollo’s voice comes from his/her individual members rather than the presumed group mind, which makes his/her "oneness" a little hard to accept; even so, Apollo makes an interesting and sympathetic character that the reader can’t help but like and wish well. The "bad guys" mostly have no redeeming characteristics which makes them rather two dimensional.

The plot proceeds apace, interestingly but with no apparent resolution in sight, until, deus ex machina, a sudden plot twist reveals all and the story comes to a rapid end. I confess to feeling somewhat cheated; this book had the potential to be so much more.


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