Seeds of Time is a terrific SF novel for those who are not as concerned with techno-wizardry, but more on sociological, and even ecological concerns. Set in the future on Earth, a break-through has been made in the ability not to do FTL (fast than light) travel, but in time travel. They can go back, but not forward. Th earth is dying. And so dive pilots, as the heroine CLio is, are used to take a ship back in time, away from the earth and any paradoxes that may occur, to a likely planet that would have been in a specific place in a specific year (i.e. knowing how the stars move within time). They search the planet for signs of flora, and bring them back, working tirelessly to see if they can be grown under the harsh, ozone depleted earth conditions.
Clio has dived over her maximum life-span amount, but she is still one of the best dive pilots around. Dive pilots are found from those people who don’t go into complete black-out mode on a dive through time as most people do. The find a planet that seems incredibly lush and verdant, and begin to take samples back. A previous mission had been lost on this planet. But things began to go wrong. Some of the crew want to “go native”, and others just to get back to the ship. The plants, as lush as they were, seem to be almost predators. After a fight, where some are killed, and one or two left behind, they manage to escape back to the ship, and bring back the seeds and fledgling plants. Grown under supervised conditions, the plants should be contained. But things begin to go wrong on the ship after it makes it’s dive back to their time, and is flying to meet the space station, often a several month long journey. Clio will do anything in her power to bring back the life to a dying earth, no matter the cost. Great stuff from Kay Kenyon. A flawed heroine, and an interesting premise, of how far will you go to avoid a future that seems doomed from one perspective. My second read (the first was in 2007.