Unexpected, but not unwelcome. That would be how I’d briefly describe Arthur and the Argonauts by G.H. Lewis. Framed as a space saga, we learn about the love trials and tribulations of Arthur, a teenager selected to join the journey to space as the future of humanity. Continue reading to get a more in-depth look at my thoughts on this new release!
Arthur Pifflethorpe fell in love. He fell in love often and he fell in love hard. He fell in love with any pretty girl foolish enough to meet his gaze for an instant longer than necessary. What hope is there for a boy like Arthur, for whom loving comes so much easier than being loved?
Perhaps there was none until the day he got the call. Armagast Enterprises had selected its crew for the Argo, and Arthur was among the chosen few. All of humanity had watched as the mysterious spacecraft was born. For a decade or more, rumors over its purpose had swirled as the Argo plied its obit through the night skies, growing in size and brightness with each new fusillade of supply rockets to go roaring skyward. Now they all knew: the Argo was setting off on a multi-generational voyage to colonize the universe. The journey would see the Argonauts—and their children, and their children’s children—drifting through the black void of interstellar space for thousands of years.
What future is that for a slightly above-average boy from a decaying little backwater whose only aspiration is to find his one true love? What future would there be in staying behind?
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the author. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Arthur and the Argonauts did the third person omniscient real well! The narration style definitely was reminiscent of Douglas Adams – humorous, meta, and often breaking the fourth wall and chronology. Lewis used short tangents and references to the future revealing things the characters don’t (and possibly won’t ever) know. I do want to note that at times the writing and narration felt lighthearted to the point where I did not take most of the conflict very seriously.
Being third person omniscient, Lewis still is able to create connections between the reader and the characters. Understandably it was heavily centered on the titular Arthur, but Maisy and other characters do get their day in the sun. Throughout the book, Arthur and others do get some degree of character development, but since the story seemed nonchalant at times, I was not incredibly compelled or invested in their goals or wants.
Honestly, only the setting made this book science fiction. The summary insinuates more involvement on the science fiction front. I expected to learn more about the ship, its missions, and where it would go wrong or off course. It truly was more about coming of age, love, and the obstacles associated with it. The obstacles seem to only be that they are on a spaceship with rules forbidding love and co-mingling of the opposite sexes.
If you are looking for a science fiction-heavy story focusing on the mission to be the future of the human race, you will likely be disappointed. That does not, however, mean I do not recommend this book. Arthur and the Argonauts is very well written regardless of the dearth of science fiction. The characters are interesting and humorous, but I was not entirely invested in their lives. It definitely felt like a slice of life/coming of age/love story that just so happened to be taking place on a spaceship. Lewis’ writing is witty, clever, and light-hearted (especially considering the nature of their mission to space). Overall, I would certainly recommend Arthur and the Argonauts, but not necessarily for the traveling through space aspect.