Miles High and Wide as the Sky
An exciting science-fiction novel about the first human colony on Venus
Science fiction from 1969 – does it still stand up? Anyone reading Miles High and Wide as the Sky would have to conclude that it does. True, Tonke Dragt didn’t foresee the invention of the smartphone, but her book remains convincingly futuristic. Dragt tells the story of Edu, a young planetary researcher on his second expedition to Venus, where a human colony lives under a dome of super-plexiglass.
Edu is drawn to the planet’s mysterious, dangerous forests, but they are out of bounds to researchers. Defying the rules, he discovers intelligent beings, the Afroini, who can read thoughts.
Dragt describes the forests beautifully. There are none left on earth by Edu’s day, but on Venus they are still unspoilt and fantastical: ‘Scaly trunks leading up to huge serrated leaves, pink, orange, yellow… And between them suddenly trees that were darker, from purple to black; they looked as if they were made of smoke, with feathered crowns.’
Although the book is undoubtedly science fiction, full of high-tech airships and robots, it addresses real dilemmas, about daring to go off the beaten track, or about man’s relationship with nature. In part two, Eyes of Tigers, the story continues with a different main character. As an introduction to the two books, Dragt wrote The Robot of the Flea Market and Route Z.