Cover image for Salt
Roberts, Adam.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London : Gollancz, 2001.

Physical Description:
248 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
Originally published: London: Gollancz, 2000.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Science Fiction/Fantasy
X Adult Fiction Science Fiction/Fantasy
X Adult Fiction Science Fiction/Fantasy

On Order



Two narrators tell the story of the simmering tensions between their two communities as they travel out to a new planet, colonise it, then destroy themselves when the tensions turn into outright war.

Adam Roberts is a new writer completely in command of the SF genre. This is a novel that is at once entertaining and philosophical. The attitudes and prejudices of its characters are subtlety drawn and ring completely true despite the alien circumstances they find themselves in. The grasp of science and its impact on people is instinctive. But above all it is the epic and colourful world building that marks SALT out - the planet Salt rivals Dune in its desolation and is a suitably biblical setting for a novel that is powered by the corrupting influence of imperfectly remembered religions on distant societies.

From the early scenes set on a colony ship towed by a massive ice meteorite, to the description of a planet covered in sodium chloride, to the chilling narrative of a world sliding into its first war this is a novel from a writer who shouts star quality.

Author Notes

Adam Roberts is 33. He is a published academic and teaches English at London University. He contributes regularly to SF academic journals.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Salt employs the classic sf situation of colonists engaged in the risky business of settling a new world far from Earth. When the colonists land, they discover that their new home has far less water than was expected, and seemingly endless, desolate, inhospitable deserts of another necessity of life, salt. The story concerns the two different groups of colonists, the Senaarians and the Alsists, and is told in alternation by Petja, an Alsist, and Barlei, a Senaarian. The two peoples are divided over a cultural misunderstanding about the "ownership" of children sired by Senaarians but mothered by Alsists. Begun while in transit to the salty planet, the dispute erupts in full-scale war after the decades-long voyage and first frantic period of settlement. The opponents' language and attitudes ring all too familiarly. A satisfying piece of standard sf that affords a chilling look at how clashes of ideology work out on a harsh world. --Regina Schroeder