(Book Review) ‘Orbital Cloud’ by Taiyo Fujii / 「オービタル・クラウド」藤井太洋

by Miki
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Who owns technology? Who is responsible for protecting society from attacks initiated by technological advancement? This book is categorised as a ‘Techno Thriller’, however, I read this far more as a ‘Work Novel’ meets ‘SF’. The characters in this book were so cute in their motivation for their work, triggered by their passion. It’s always great to reads book with genuinely positive-minded protagonists.


The story is set in 2020; the protagonist notices a suspicious collection of orbital space debris while he checks the data for his shooting star forecast website. The debris in question seems to be an orbital weapon targeting the International Space Station! Two Japanese ‘tech geek’ freelancers get involved with an international space battle on a global scale, featuring the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, NORAD and even the CIA.


My favourite element of this book is the remarkable scalability of the story; there’s even one character – an Iranian scientist – who has secret information in regards to the orbital weapon. It’s not just a thrilling story but also sometimes emotional and sentimental; it deepens the story to be more than just an exciting SF novel. The scenes with the Iranian scientist were the most memorable part of the book.


As a non-tech geek and non-SF reader myself, this book was definitely out of my usual comfort zone, however, with clear logic and decent description, the plot was easy to follow. As it was written in 2014 and set in 2020, I did wonder if the story might get outdated, however, the plot felt rather real, maybe because the technology in this book is quite familiar to us now, and you can imagine how these incidents might happen in reality!


I must admit, some of the characters were written as what felt like obvious stereotypes, but even so the story was very exciting and a wonderful page-turner: you’ll lose all track of time while reading!


Viz (English version available, Translated by Timothy Silver)

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