Bones of the Emperor: A Theology of Humanity in the Universe by Richard K. Perkins
Two hundred years in the future, humankind has developed interstellar warp technology, thanks to a clueless architect’s unknowingly dangerous backyard research. Second Lieutenant Zhou Wen is just a single soul aboard the HMS Fuji, a massive battleship patrolling and monitoring the depths of space far away from Earth. Assuming control of the ship’s command deck one night, Wen expects to be forced to endure a brutally boring watch shift, with only dry status reports to keep him company. What he doesn’t expect is an all-out attack from a previously unheard-of alien enemy. Yet this enemy seems to exhibit technology even more advanced than humanity’s own, and they have decided to use it to eradicate our species. Now, in the aftermath of a disastrously mismatched space battle, Wen and a handful of human survivors must figure out how to warn the rest of their kind of the looming alien invasion. Failure will spell doom for everyone and everything humankind has ever known.
Bones of the Emperor begins like many standard sci-fi epics but quickly veers off into virgin territory, exploring the human psyche and measuring the very weight of what we know about the universe we inhabit against all that we still do not comprehend. Though it is entertaining, Perkins’ novel is not merely another science fiction novel; he attempts, in writing, to shed light on questions that have plagued our species since its very birth. Bones of the Emperor offers an intriguing solution to the endless debate between science and religion that is seductive in its simplicity – and in its likelihood. This story suggests that if another species were in fact to visit our planet, it might not be as alien as we think. In fact, it might just be an enemy we have encountered before. Through top-notch storytelling and fully realized characters, Perkins delivers a new sci-fi odyssey that is both original and insightful.
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