Science fiction catch up: Gravity by Tess Gerritsen

Gravity | Tess Gerritsen | 1999 (this edn 2004) | Harper | 391p | Bought copy | Buy the book

Gravity by Tess GerritsenWhen Debbie Haning is fatally injured in a car crash, an unpredictable sequence of events is triggered. Her husband, Bill, is aboard the Space Station. He must be returned to see his wife. While he waits for the emergency space shuttle, he finds distraction in his work, an experiment that has gone wrong – a cell specimen has mutated, producing a gelatinous, expanding substance. When medic and research physician Emma Watson arrives at the Space Station, it’s not long before she must deal with the repercussions and yet another shuttle is summoned, this time to remove the dead.

Gravity moves between the Space Station and Earth. While Emma Watson has more than enough on her plate to deal with in space, her soon to be ex-husband Jack McCullum, a failed astronaut, is about to have his relationship to NASA as space surgeon renewed. Emma is going to need all the help she can get.

Meanwhile, on the Space Station, the organism is loose. At first, the little green globules floating in the Station’s atmosphere seem innocuous; nothing more serious than escaped drips of juice or shed drops of blood. But then the eyes begin to redden, the sickness comes, the headaches and the fever. The big threat to the crew doesn’t come from the living sufferers, though, it comes from the dead.

Gravity is an addictive novel. It has all the ingredients for a page turning horror thriller in space – claustrophobia, a diminishing number of victims, suspicion, intriguing science and, this above all else, gore by the bucketload. Tess Gerritsen knows her stuff. The medical details are thorough (as to be expected from Gerritsen’s background) but this is backed up by the meticulous research into late 20th-century space exploration. The text is littered with acronyms and technical speak – fortunately, there’s a glossary at the end – and this adds to the reader’s sense of immersion (not to mention claustrophobic panic).

While I was fascinated by Gravity, I was tempted to put it to one side half way through. It is exceedingly gory and bloodily revolting. There are only so many exploding brains I can cope with. But the second half upped the pace, turning Gravity from a succession of unpleasant deaths into a tale of survival. We become caught up in Jack’s determined efforts to get Emma home and from that moment on Gravity becomes a page turner of the highest order.

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4 thoughts on “Science fiction catch up: Gravity by Tess Gerritsen

  1. Maryom

    I’d sort of had this on a ‘read sometime’ list as I’d heard the film of the same name was too similar to be a coincidence and the producers may have ‘borrowed’ from the book.Sounds like that would be the second, more gripping half….

    Reply
    1. Kate (For Winter Nights) Post author

      Hi Mary! I’ve heard about this. I have to say that apart from the title, the fact that one of the characters is a female doctor and it’s set in space, I didn’t think there was much similarity at all between this and the film. It’s well worth a read if you don’t mind the gore!

      Reply
  2. Kate (For Winter Nights) Post author

    It’s definitely easier to deal with in a book. I saw Drive at the cinema and spent most of the film out in the foyer! Gravity did give me nightmares, though, which shows just how powerful a read it is! And gory…. 😉

    Reply

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