This review was first published by Booklist on March 15, 2019.
Once again, Egan (Phoresis, 2018) demonstrates his mastery of short-form science fiction. In Perihelion Summer, he takes on climate change from a unique angle—a micro-black hole passes close to Earth, changing its orbit and making the seasons more extreme and deadly, with swaths of the planet rendered uninhabitable. A group who built a self-sustaining aquaculture rig in the Indian Ocean to ride out the black hole now find themselves needing to navigate dangerous seas in search of survivable temperatures. Egan packs quite a lot into such a short book: science and engineering, family relationships and personal conflicts, global politics and danger. He presents a human tapestry in a time of disaster through evocative highlights of how people adapt to sudden crisis. This is a warning for how bad things could get if climate change is left unchecked. It’s a cautionary tale of the need for us to be prepared. But it’s also a beacon of hope—a story of survival at great cost. Difficult and painful as it may be, we find a way.