The Future Happens Twice: The Perennial Project
by Matt Browne
With spaceship technology still unable to attain a significant fraction of lightspeed and an urgent need to travel to other star systems, cryostasis seems to be the only option. Unfortunately, while embryos can be successfully frozen and revived, adults can not. Who will raise the children? The only option seems to be a pair of highly sophisticated androids, who will thaw out 4 children 18 years before landing and raise them as their parents.
Unfortunately, it’ll be 42,000 years before that happens…and at that time, the androids will be completely on their own, with no way to call home for help. They need to be perfect. Thus, the perennial project…an 18-year test designed to ferret out any problems with the androids or the human crew. To study the psychological impact on the humans, of course, requires that they not know they are part of the experiment…indeed, that they be raised to believe they really are on a starship light-years from Earth.
So begins the great psychological experiment. Will the children survive? What will they do when they find out that everything they’ve believed is false? What is the secret disaster headings for Earth that makes this project so urgent, that it would be authorized and funded at the highest levels?
I found that the writing of this book seemed somewhat stilted at first, but quickly picked up speed, turning this into an enjoyable adventure. Unfortunately, it eventually slowed down, and I ended up never finishing the book.