There are few books in science fiction that could be considered a love letter to it, but Arkwright by Allen Steele hits the nail on the head.
The book surrounds Nathan Arkwright, a seminal sci fi writer, and his legacy of wishing to send humanity into the stars to colonize them. Driven by the belief that humanity will eventually wear out their welcome on Earth and need to look elsewhere for a home, Nathan sets up a foundation to ensure that his dream will become a reality. It is up to his children and grandchildren to make it a reality. We follow this multi-generational tale of the Arkwrights as they struggle to make Nathan’s vision a reality.
Filled with small homages to the genre itself, Steele does not spare any piece of the book to not make a tribute to the classic writers/figures of science fiction such as; Robert Heinlen, Arthur C. Clarke, and Carl Sagan. For any lover of the sci fi genre, this book is simply a must read.
A book such as this is rare because, despite the overt concern of plot rather than individuals characters, who have a tendency to fade into two-dimensional cut outs, the story remains engaging by virtue of its overwhelming optimism. This recalls some of the forward thinking, glittering futures that sci fi pulp writers of the 50s and 60s even if it did not pan out that way.
In a world where the future can seem so incredibly dark and uncertain, Steel gives us a book that emboldens us to hold fast to a dream.