by David A. Hardy: Reviewed by Michael Guest
Aurora: a Child of Two Worlds
By David A. Hardy
Published by Cosmos Books an imprint of Wildside Press, 2003
ISBN: 1-59224-201-4, pp 223, soft cover.
For availability see the author’s website.
I know of only one other novel which sets dowsing into a pivotal position in the story line, The Centurion by the late Jan de Hartog In Aurora David Hardy writes an apparently straight science fiction novel “in the grand tradition of Arthur C. Clarke” which harbours dowsing as a ticking bomb due to explode about halfway through. This is quite a courageous act because dowsing can be rubbished just as much by SF aficionados as clever scientists who say that because no-one can really say how it works, it clearly cannot work. This I know from personal experience of both. To add insult to injury David broadens out from dowsing and uses PSI and ESP as essential elements in unfolding the story.
The story concerns a beautiful young woman of mysterious origin who is first encountered as a baby in the London blitz and later, very much later, takes part in an expedition to Mars, where her presence and her amazing powers start to get things going. No more details will pass my lips (other than she causes a sensation at a rock concert) because David has written a suspenseful plot which keeps you dangling right to the end. His writing style is clear and sharp, like his pictures. It owes something to Arthur C. Clarke’s mix of narrative and meticulously wrought background information and thus brings vividly to life the feel of a Mars expedition. He also allows himself some quietly sly jokes and a self-referential appearance of one of his own pictures.
Pictures have been a major part of David’s life. I first met him when he was in his late teens when we were both members of the British Interplanetary Society. He was a brilliant artist then, painting pictures of lunar and planetary landscapes of breathtaking beauty and accuracy. As his career blossomed he became one of the very top space artists and his work has appeared in all media. He became President of the International Association of Astronomical Artists (IAAA) and earlier this year he had the honour of having an asteroid named after him in recognition of his role in making space exploration not just widely comprehensible but a thing of magic and wonder. Have a look at his website (address above).
David picked up on dowsing through our friendship and has incorporated it into Aurora in an absolutely authentic way. Many dowsers have wondered whether the dowsing faculty would work on other planets, with different force of gravity and magnetic fields. David votes in favour! Even better he also backs hands-on healing and the energies of the mind.
18th November 03