My book review of 'Orbital' by Samantha Harvey

by Samantha Harvey
by Samantha Harvey

Six astronauts in the International Space Station are collecting meteorological data, conduct scientific experiments and testing the limits of the human body as they circle the planet.

Their story is divided into sixteen chapters, acknowledging each time the team completes a circumnavigation.

Though we learn all about the practicalities of their routine, the food, exercise and sanitation, we also join with them in observing the world below.

They can see glaciers and deserts, mountains and oceans, witnessing everything from the tiny lights of fishing vessels to the devastation of a typhoon on an island, and where morning arrives every 90 minutes. 

With all of life below them, they are lost in awe and wonder at what they can see, imagine and remember.

Unable to disconnect themselves from who they were there, and who they are here, they are forced to confront their place in the universe when news reaches them of a mother's death.

What is life without earth? What is earth without humanity? A thoughtful and thought-provoking read!

Date of this review: July 2024
Book publication date: 27th June 2024