The Reefs of Space

Frederik Pohl, Jack Williamson
The Reefs of Space Cover

The Reefs of Space


The Reefs of Space is a cross between 1984 and Limbo by Bernard Wolfe. In a totalitarian society called The Plan of Man if you are found to be a problem you are called a risk and a ring is placed around your neck that will blow up if they consider you to be a menace to their plan or if you try and remove it. Not a pleasant way to live... or die. Also if you are considered to be useless to their plan you are then moved to "Heaven" where you are basically farmed for body parts.

The main character, Steve Ryeland, has suffered amnesia of a period of his life, roughly three days, and discovers he now wears the ring. He is being moved to an undisclosed area to do work for The Plan. While there he is firmly indoctrinated and is trying to do his duty, while haunted by the missing time in his life. He remembers being interrogated about inertialess flight, Spacelings, a Dr. Horrocks and a fellow scientist Donderevo. None of which he can recall.

While trying to find a doctor for a friend he inadvertently meets Donna Creery, the Planner's daughter. Then through some adventures and misadventures he is confronted with a Spaceling, a seal-like animal that can fly with no possible means of propellant. Having neither wings nor a rocket pack. The animal is a living contradiction to Newton's Third Law. For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction.

Through some string pulling by Donna. Steve is soon head of the research looking into inertialess flight. And then also summarily disgraced and put out to farm in Heaven. Just as things get darkest, he is rescued by Donna and they both are on the run, through space to locate the "Reefs" an area of freedom from The Plan out past Pluto.

This is the first book in a trilogy written by two SF Grand Masters. I found it to be a fun and interesting read and will read the other two.