I tried with this one, I really did. But it just got to me in the end. And before you go and say, “but it’s partially set in New Zealand!”, that’s one of the reasons it pissed me off so much.
Earth is about a scientist who has accidentally released a singularity. It has sunk from Brazil where it was created into the Earth’s core (hence the name), and threatens the world. Good premise right? Right. And it should be a good read.
What’s most interesting is that in the science-fiction stakes a lot of what Brin contemplates is now reality. His vision of the internet is very acurate (though a little more Usenet than Twitter), and his concern about global warming is currently unfolding across the planet. But… he was off the mark on CFCs (which global action averted the danger of), and his description of Maori is irksome at best.
Regarding Maori, he’s obviously taken a trip to New Zealand, read some guides and some mythology, and woven it into his tale. And some parts of it are really nice, such as the description of our roading network. But the stuff about Maori just provided a case in point of how and why Maori should be unhappy about people appropriating their culture, badly.
In the end it all just got a little too turgid for me. Perhaps I’m finding that some scifi is only good when it’s current and working on the boundary of contemporary imagination.