Archive for the ‘Science Fiction’ Category

Uglies Readalong: Specials (Book Three)

Oof. Sorry for missing last week, squiders. It was a mess, all the way around–too many things that I had to get ready for and/or get done. But that’s all behind us now.

Let’s move on to our discussion about Specials, the third book in Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies trilogy.

At this point we’re basically all spoilers, so I guess, uh, don’t read if you intend to read the trilogy.

So, once again, we find Tally in a new state of being, having been turned into a Special at the very end of the last book. She’s back with Shay and several former Crims, the Cutters, working as a specialized Specials team.

This books feels a little different than the others. In Uglies, Tally is desperate to become Pretty, and in Pretties, she’s desperate to escape back to the New Smoke and be cured. But in this book, Tally likes being a Special, and at no point does not becoming one appeal to her, even as other characters bring up a cure or use it themselves.

The only thing weighing down Tally’s newfound happiness as a Special is Zane, her boyfriend from Pretties. He’d been brought back to the city at the end of the last book, and Tally hasn’t seen him or heard from him since then. When Tally and Shay go to visit him, Tally finds he’s still suffering the repercussions of taking the Pretty cure from the last book–muscle shakes, memory lapses, etc. So Tally decides the best thing would be to have Zane become a Special, so that they’ll remake his body and brain and fix him.

But you have to have certain qualities to be a Special. Shay and Tally put together a plan to help Zane escape the city, which will make him seem like he has those qualities, but their plan goes too far, is too scary, and ends up having consequences outside their own city.

What I found interesting about this book especially, was that there was no clear “this is the right way to think and this is the wrong way to think” theme that you find in a lot of YA dystopia. While there is an antagonist, her ideologies aren’t necessarily portrayed as being bad. And Tally never completely aligns with the “rebel” side either, definitely not in this book but not all the way in the others either.

It’s a bit refreshing, honestly.

The book ends with the “wrong” system slowly disintegrating, but Tally putting herself in a position where, if the “rebel” system replacing it gets out of hand, she can act as a check and balance.

Overall, I thought the trilogy was worth the read. I don’t think we’ll go on to the fourth book, which takes place some time after the change in systems with a new viewpoint character, but you’re welcome to if you would like!

Thanks for reading along with me, squiders! I’ll see you again later in the week.

Uglies Readalong: Pretties (Book 2)

Hey hey, look, I got a book done when I said I was going to! It’s a miracle.

So, for those of you just joining us, we’re reading through the Uglies trilogy by Scott Westerfeld, which is YA dystopia and came out in the 2005 to 2007 time frame, so pretty early in the whole YA dystopia craze there.

This month we read Pretties, which is the second book.

In our dystopian world, everybody goes through an operation when they are 16 which makes them a Pretty–basically conforming people to an acceptable range of appearance to help avoid the bloodshed and wars that humanity has faced in the past. Before their operation, they’re an Ugly.

Spoilers from here on out. You’ve been warned.

In Uglies, our heroine, Tally Youngblood, is forced to go into the wild after her friend Shay, who has run away from the city to live outside. Special Circumstances, or Specials, are essentially the enforcers of the society, and they tell Tally that the only way she’ll get to be Pretty is if she helps bring Shay back to the city. But as Tally learns more about the Smoke and the people who live there, she starts to change her mind about being a Pretty herself, especially after she learns that part of the Pretty operation changes your brain, making you, well, compliant.

However, things go poorly at the end of the book–when Tally tries to destroy the tracker so she can stay in the Smoke forever, it goes off, bringing Special Circumstances down on everyone. Tally stages a rescue and manages to get most of the Smokies to safety outside the city, but her friend Shay is turned Pretty in the process. One of the Smokies is a retired doctor who has devised a cure to the brain changes made in the process, but Shay, now Pretty, refuses to take it, and without a subject, they can’t tell if the process works.

So Tally volunteers to be made Pretty to test the cure. End of Book 1.

Pretties starts up about a month after Tally has become Pretty. New Pretties live in New Pretty Town (we’ve talked about how spot-on the place names are before) where they essentially do nothing except party. But at a party, Tally notices someone dressed as a Special, which throws her off, and, when she pursues the person, she’s surprised to find it’s an Ugly, and an Ugly she recognizes from Outside. All her memories of her time in the Smoke and the time after it have been suppressed by the operation.

The person has to run before the real Specials catch him, but he tells Tally that he left her something, setting off a chain of puzzles that lead her to the promised cure and her own letter, written before she turned herself in, to explain what the cure is and why Pretty!Tally needs to take it. But the puzzles attract the attention of the Specials too, and Tally shares the cure with Zane, the leader of her Pretty clique, to get rid of the evidence.

That’s the set-up. Tally does take some time to get going AGAIN this book, but it was less bothersome this time because I was expecting it.

Most of the book follows Tally and Zane as they plot ways to escape from the city and head back Outside, made troublesome by tracking bracelets the Specials have put on them. They also experiment with ways to make the rest of their clique “bubbly,” a term that basically means clear-headed and aware. Tally and Shay fight–Shay blames Tally for what happened out in the Smoke, and she remembers too, when bubbly–but finally Tally, Zane, and their clique have everything in place and make their escape.

There are complications, of course. Tally’s best friend from her Ugly days chickens out last minute, making it so Tally’s escape is almost ruined; Zane has been getting progressively sicker since taking the cure; Tally is approached by the head of the Specials and offered a spot, and all that jazz.

And, in the end, everything gets worse. We’re definitely not pulling any punches here.

So far the series has been very readable, and Tally is better in this book–determined and focused, and willing to protect her friends.

And I will say that, knowing that the last book is Specials, we didn’t get there in the way I thought we would. Hooray! I like surprises, especially when they make sense.

Did you guys read along? What did you think, Squiders? I’m glossing over the love triangle aspects to this because it doesn’t really interest me (which is also how I felt about it in Hunger Games), but if you like that sort of thing, which guy are you rooting for?

Let’s have Specials done for, hm, May 20, and we can decide if we’re going to do the fourth book at that point or if we feel fulfilled.

See you Friday!

Uglies Readalong: Uglies (Book 1)

Hey, squiders! Guess who finally finished the book? And only two weeks late.

For those of you just joining us, we’ll be reading the Uglies trilogy by Scott Westerfeld, with the option of reading the fourth book depending on how the first three go.

The trilogy came out about fifteen years ago, and takes place in a dystopian future where, on their 16th birthday, everyone becomes a “pretty”–they go through an extensive surgery that reshapes their body so everyone is equally pretty, in theory equalizing everyone across the board.

Our main character is Tally Youngblood, who we meet a few months out from her 16th birthday. Her best friend has just become pretty, so she’s feeling lonely and desperately counting down the days until she becomes pretty too and can join her friend in New Pretty Town. Before you become pretty, you are an ugly, and they all live together in dorms in a place called Uglyville.

Yes, it’s on the nose, but it’s meant to be.

Tally sneaks out to New Pretty Town to see her friend and almost gets caught—Uglies aren’t allowed—but during her escape, she makes a new friend named Shay, who coincidentally has the same birthday as her. Shay and Tally find solace in each other, but Shay’s not quite as excited about turning as Tally is. She keeps taking Tally outside of the city, and talking about a place where you don’t have to turn pretty.

Is this a pretty form YA dystopia? I mean, yes. Yes it is. It came out in the same era as The Hunger Games and Divergent and all that jazz (actually a little before, so it’s an early contender in the genre). It’s got a lot of the same beats, but those beats aren’t necessarily bad. There’s a reason all these series were so successful.

As I’ve said in earlier blog posts, I had some difficulty relating to Tally, which made my progress slower than expected. It’s hard, as a fully-grown adult, to connect with someone whose sole purpose is to wait until she becomes pretty, and who puts so much emphasis on this procedure. It makes sense why she does, with the world-building and everything, but there’s not a lot of common ground there. Once we got about half way into the book and Tally’s motivations change, I found it much easier to keep going.

The book ends on a cliffhanger, as expected, but I’m interested in the twist (in this case, why this seemingly utopian society is in fact a dystopia—really the cornerstone of the entire genre and so hit or miss) and I’m looking forward to seeing how the story develops in Pretties.

How did you guys feel about it? How do you feel about the society when compared to other, similar dystopias?

We’ll read Pretties for April 27. I’m hoping the second book goes faster now that I’m invested.

Announcing the Uglies Readalong

Hi squiders! It’s been forever since we’ve done a readalong.

I mean, that’s because we started Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy and got half way through the second book (Green Mars) and made it no farther. Well, I made it no farther. I can see Green Mars on the bookcase, staring at me accusingly.

And nothing against the Mars trilogy, certainly. I enjoyed Red Mars, and Green Mars has been similarly well-written. For some reason I can’t get through them very quickly.

Someday. Someday I will finish it and talk about it, and everyone will have forgotten what we were doing in the mean time.

Let’s not dwell on the past and our failures, however. Let’s move forward!

So I’m announcing a new readalong! We’ll be doing the Uglies trilogy by Scott Westerfeld. I inherited all three books from my mother when she was culling her collection a few years back, and I remember hearing good things about the books when they first came out. I haven’t read any of them, but I’m expecting them to be somewhat standard YA dystopias. We shall see.

(Wikipedia tells me there’s a fourth book. Well, we will cross that bridge when we get there. If we get there.)

I read Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy, which is a YA (I was going to say middle grade, but apparently not) steampunk alt history of World War I, and I enjoyed the series greatly, so I’m excited to read his first series.

Let’s be ready to discuss Uglies on March 23rd. That gives us a month, and it’s not that long of a book.

See you then!

Promo: The Dark that Dwells by Matt Digman and Ryan Roddy

Good morning, squiders! Today I’ve got a science fiction book for you! Feel free to check it out if it sounds interesting (it comes out today!).


Science Fiction

Release Date: July 10, 2020

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THE DARK THAT DWELLS is a debut space opera novel featuring an unforgettable ensemble cast, planet-hopping across an expansive galaxy on the brink of war.

The story unfolds through the viewpoints of four characters: SIDNA ORIN, a mercurial young arcanist, striving to gain the lost knowledge that could save her people. FALL ARDEN, honorable sword-for-hire, working as a guide on a dangerous expedition into an unexplored frontier. BAN MORGAN, disgraced marine wielding high-tech weaponry, chained by remorse and the ghosts of his past. TIEGER of WESTMARCH, fanatical zealot, empowered with the seemingly divine technology of his overlord and a starship feared across generations.

THE DARK THAT DWELLS holds virtual worlds lost in crystal relics, visceral close-quarters combat, mysteries of the divine and the arcane, companionship and bittersweet romance, insidious deception, and the looming threat of a horror who hungers for the souls of mankind.

This story is essential for readers craving robust, character-driven adventures on fantastic alien worlds, bullet-ridden spaceships barely held together, and the expansive infinity of space-time itself.

 


About the Authors

Matt Digman is exactly one half the creative force behind the epic fantasy space opera novel, The Dark That Dwells. Born and raised in Arkansas, he spent his free time studying Star Wars technical manuals, searching for his next favorite RPG, and watching his Star Trek: TNG VHS tapes until they fell apart. Basically, he was nerdy when nerdy wasn’t cool. He currently works as a pediatric emergency medicine physician in Alabama and writes when he ought to be sleeping.

Ryan Roddy grew up across the southeast, chasing her dream of becoming a professional actress. Though she eventually traded the stage for a stethoscope, she never gave up her love for great storytelling—or for playing dress up as an adult. Now she works as a pediatric emergency medicine physician to afford her cosplay and Disney obsessions. She loves the characters she’s written for The Dark That Dwells with her husband almost as much as she loves him and their four dogs.

 

Contact Links

Website

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Promo Link

 

Purchase Links

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RABT Book Tours & PR

More Thoughts on Star Trek: Picard

So, now I’m a little more than halfway through the first season of Star Trek: Picard, and I have Thoughts.

(Probably spoiler-y.)

And one of those thoughts is how depressing the universe has become. Everyone is sad. Everything has gone poorly. I was so excited to see Seven, but it was just the same.

It hurts to see beloved characters not get a happy ending. And it hurts to see new ones who are broken and confused.

I am a bit grumpy about that.

But!

I am so excited about the Romulans!

I love Romulans. They are my favorite Trek species, and I am so excited that they are getting so much screen time, and that we’re getting to see into their culture finally. AND THEY ARE SPEAKING RIHANNSU ONSCREEN. SOMEONE HAS GONE IN AND MADE RIHANNSU SPEAKABLE and my nerdy heart is so very full.

You see, back when I was a teenager, I spent a ton of time doing Star Trek roleplays in AOL chatrooms. We’re talking hours a week. I was on probably four or five different crews in various positions as various characters, plus there was a chatroom called Ten Forward Lounge, where you could go and hang out and roleplay whenever you wanted.

(Of course, we invariably had storylines going in there as well.)

One of my very favorite characters was a genetically-engineered Romulan Tal’Shiar officer who had been betrayed by her partner, picked up by the Federation and, since she was a child at the time (11, I think) was taken in by a Federation family and went on to become a Starfleet officer (and also a member of Starfleet Intelligence, because why not?).

How’s that for a mouthful of backstory? I was fourteen at the time I created her. But what it really came down to was that I wanted to play a Romulan but there was a dearth of Romulan specific sims (short for simulations), and the few that did exist were either too late or on the weekends, and that wasn’t feasible with school.

So that meant I needed a Romulan character to be in Starfleet, and man, I jumped through hoops to make that happen.

Now, back in the day, the Romulan language (Rihannsu, in Romulan) did exist to some extent–Diane Duane had started in some of her Trek novels and it had been expanded a bit–but we’re still talking about 30 pages when the entire thing was printed out. Which I know. Cuz I printed it out, so I could sprinkle in Romulan words in my dialogue (and also learn all the curse words).

But it wasn’t like Klingon. There was vocabulary and there was grammar put together, but most of the vocab was adjectives and nouns, so you couldn’t really parse together a whole sentence.

So, long story short (too late), I am SO EXCITED to see that it’s become a speakable language. If they put out an official Romulan dictionary and/or make it a course on Duolingo I am so there.

ROMULANS! I love them.

And I also love the Borg, at least old-school Borg, before they got a bit overdone in Voyager. (In my eighth grade tech ed class, when we made CO2 cars, I painted mine silver and put the Borg symbol on the top. And it beat everyone else, bwhahaha.) So the show has lots of Romulan stuff and lots of Borg stuff, and I am 100% there for all of that.

I just wish the characters weren’t so sad and hopeless. Discovery is a bit violent at times, but it still has that hopefulness, the idea that if we work together and make sacrifices, we can make the universe a better place. I hope Picard gets there too.

Watching/watched Picard, squiders? Thoughts? Thoughts about Trek in general (or Romulans in specific)?

(Oh, and that convoluted character I made up all those years ago? Became the inspiration for the main character in my high fantasy trilogy. Ha!)

Library Book Sale Finds: The Pandora Directive by Aaron Conners

Sometimes you find the weirdest things, amirite, squiders?

The Pandora Directive has a note that it’s a Tex Murphy novel, which meant nothing to me until, about halfway through, I happened to accidentally glance at the author bio at the end of the book.

But, anyway:

Title: The Pandora Directive
Author: Aaron Conners
Genre: Science fiction noir
Publication Year: 1995

Pros: Cool mash-up of traditional noir with some science fiction elements
Cons: A little too puzzle game-y near the end

On the surface, this is a fun scifi noir book (though I’m not sure if the main character, Tex Murphy, is from the 1940s and time traveled to the 2040s at some point, or if he just has a lot of nostalgia going on). It takes place in a post-apocalyptic San Francisco where people are out at night and sleep during the day to avoid the dangerous radiation levels.

But! It turns out that it’s the novelization of an adventure game. And The Pandora Directive is actually the fourth game in said adventure game series.

I love adventure games. I especially love ’90s-era adventure games (Monkey Island is my favorite series and, with the exception of the TellTales’ Tales of Monkey Island, I’ve played all the games multiple times. Tales is good too, I just keep getting distracted by life.), but somehow I missed this series completely.

I mean, I would have picked it up if I’d heard of it. Probably why I picked up the book. It’s noir, it’s scifi, there’s rumors of Roswell–what’s not to love?

According to Wikipedia, the Tex Murphy game series has had an interesting history. The first game is apparently a mashup of genres, though the other five games are fully in the adventure genre. And there was apparently a short film, and a radio show during the hiatus in game producing (there’s 16 years between the fifth and sixth games), two more game novelizations (of the 3rd and 5th games), and two non-novelization novels.

Huh.

As for the book itself, I really enjoyed it. It’s mostly noir, with just occasional trappings to remind you that you’re in the future and not the past. There’s the radiation thing so the characters are mostly active at night. Tex has a flying car, essentially. All the calls are video calls.

The Internet still works like the ’90s, which is when the book was written, but it makes me laugh. Always a danger when reading scifi written in the past. No one can predict everything right.

The characters are good, as is Tex’s voice. It hits the feeling of ’40s noir without including a lot of the more offensive bits. And in general the plot is good too. No real complaints, honestly, except that near the end, it starts to show its adventure game roots a little too much.

(If you’ve ever played an adventure game, you know they involve a lot of puzzle solving. And if you’ve never played an adventure game…they involve a lot of problem solving.)

There’s a lot of puzzle solving at the end. It felt like reading an adventure game. I don’t know if it would have bothered me as much as it did if I hadn’t known I was reading a novelization.

All in all, an enjoyable read. I’d recommend it if you like noir, Roswell mythology, the Tex Murphy games, or just need a fun read.

Have you read this, squiders? Played the games? Are they worth trying to hunt down?

Thoughts on Star Trek (again)

Hmm. Where did I put my coffee?

I would like to say that I’m getting to watch all the television shows I ever wanted here in isolation, but I’m not. I’m not hardly watching anything, honestly.

(I hit the libraries before they closed, because I could see which way the wind was blowing, and we got out 13 movies. This was on, like, the 15th of March. We’ve watched 3 of those.)

But the spouse and I are slowly making our way through Star Trek on CBS All Access (still a scam, I tell you what). We finally finished Discovery Season 2, and a few days ago we watched the first episode of Picard.

And I gotta say, I’m digging it.

I mean, I’ve loved Discovery since the middle of season one (two words: Captain Killy) and I really liked how they integrated more original series stuff into season two. I think they did a really good job of that, and the end of season two gets rid of a lot of the questions I had about Discovery existing in the first place.

(Plus I ♥ Georgiou and she’s all over this season. The more she’s around the more I like her. Michelle Yeoh is too fancy for Star Trek and I am happy she’s here.)

I admit to being a little lukewarm about Picard, which existed kind of nebulously in my head (what’s the point? what’s the story?) and I resisted watching it. I tried to get my spouse to watch the short treks instead.

(Do you guys know about Short Treks? They’re little 15-minute episodes that are related to Discovery, somehow. The first season was a mix of setting things up for season two, and one for season three, I suspect, and fleshing out of the universe. Not sure what the second season does, or if they’re also related to Picard, yet.)

(Anyway they’re great and I love the variety of themes, subject matters, mediums…kind of like the Animatrix, in some ways.)

But I gave in and we watched the first episode of Picard…and I love it.

I love the background for the series. I love the potential for anyone and anything from TNG/DS9/Voyager to show up. I love the plotline and I even love the inexplicably British Romulan.

I mean, it’s only the first episode. Maybe the series goes downhill from here. But for a series I wasn’t sure I would like, man, I dig it.

Anyway, the Trekkie in me is very happy these days. I get new characters to love and interesting things for them to do.

Been watching the new Treks, squiders? What do you think? Favorite Discovery character? (Mine is all of them.)

Used Book Store Finds: A Different Light by Elizabeth A. Lynn

Hey-o, squiders! I thought this was one of my library book sale books, but it had a bookmark in it, so it turns out that it was one of the books my spouse bought me on my birthday when he took me to a coffee house/used bookstore.

This book ends up being oddly topical for what we’re dealing with round these parts recently.

Title: A Different Light
Author: Elizabeth A. Lynn
Genre: Science Fiction
Publication Year: 1978

Pros: Interesting take on what makes life worth living
Cons: Gets a bit weird at the end, like most ’70s era scifi I’ve read

Our main character here is Jimson Alleca (which, as an aside, is Jimson a real name? Google tells me it’s a type of weed, but all I can think of is that it reads really stereotypically hillybilly-ish.), famous artist, stuck on his home world because of a rare and incurable type of cancer.

(Nobody else has weird names. Also whoever drew the cover is generally quite talented but seems a little confused about human anatomy.)

If he goes into the Hype, which, as far as I can tell, is the medium space travel goes through to get places faster than they would otherwise, it’ll accelerate the rate of growth of the cancer, and he’ll die.

But he’s bored and he’s languishing, and he decides it’s worth it to go out there and see new things, even if it’ll kill him.

(This is, coincidentally, where the title comes from. Each planet has a different star, with different colors and brightness, so he wants to see things under “a different light.”)

So it’s interesting from the standpoint that you go into the adventure sequence of the book knowing he’s going to die from it. (I mean, assuming the adventure doesn’t get him first.) Jimson’s a little fatalistic as a main character, but not annoyingly so. He does occasionally bemoan his early fate but he’s mostly accepted it. And the parts where he’s drawing or otherwise doing artistic things or looking at things through the lens of an artist are quite good, especially in a genre where art is not always explored.

There are three main side characters: Leiko, Ysao, and Russell. I liked both Leiko and Ysao, but am less fond of Russell, whom I felt was overly violent (especially to poor Jim). And there’s a telepathic subplot that’s pretty cool too.

So, end thoughts. I enjoyed this book. I haven’t read a ton of ’70s scifi (since it tends to be after the “classics” and before the modern era, whenever that technically starts) but it feels very ’70s in places. Societally, I guess, if I had to try and explain it better. I don’t know. I wasn’t actually alive in the ’70s so I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’d say it’s worth taking a gander at for the different takes on art and telepathy. I’d read other things by Elizabeth A. Lynn.

What do you think, squiders? Read A Different Light? Other things by Elizabeth A. Lynn? Thoughts on ’70s scifi in general?

(I Googled Elizabeth A. Lynn after writing this up, and have discovered she was one of the first SFF authors to include gay/lesbian characters in a positive light, and also that there’s a LGBT bookstore chain called A Different Light after this book, so that’s pretty neat.)

Library Book Sale Finds: Barbary by Vonda N. McIntyre

Good morning, squiders! I finally stopped checking a million books out from the library, so I’m getting back to reading books I actually own.

And, as such, I dug into my big pile of library book sale books from a few summers back and picked out a book.

(It was on the top of the pile. That was the deciding factor.)

Vonda N. McIntyre (the usage of the middle initial in her author name interests me, since her first name is fairly unique. Maybe it was to match the convention of other scifi authors at the time?) I’ve read before. (Oh no, I just Googled her, and she died in April. Rest in peace.) She wrote some Star Trek novels, which is where I know her from. Most notably (for me, probably not for other people, since she also wrote the movie novelizations for Star Treks 2 through 4) she wrote Enterprise: The First Adventure, which I picked up because it sounded like total crack–for its very first mission, the Enterprise has to transport a space circus, complete with flying horse–but it was actually really well done.

She also won a Hugo in 1979 for Dreamsnake, which I’ve not read, but sounds cool. And another Hugo in 1998 for The Moon and the Sun.

There’s some spoilers in the discussion, because unfortunately I can’t really discuss the plot without revealing something that the book keeps secret for the first few chapters.

Title: Barbary
Author: Vonda N. McIntyre
Genre: Science Fiction
Publication Year: 1986

Pros: Quick, easy read; includes a cat and aliens
Cons: Ends a little abruptly

We meet Barbary (a 12-year-old girl) waiting, on Earth, yet again, as she attempts to get a shuttle to a space station to meet her foster family. (She keeps getting bumped off for more important people.) Barbary doesn’t really read like a 12-year-old most of the time–I’d put her a little older, maybe 14 or 15–but I suppose the argument could be made that she’s had to mature a little faster due to being in the foster care system for so long. (There is a point, later in the book, where her new foster father, a friend of her mother’s, is upset about something, and Barbary fully expects him to hit her, because that’s what she’s used to, which is heartbreaking.)

Adding to the complication of getting off Earth is that Barbary is smuggling her pet cat, Mickey, with her. Mickey, or Mick as Barbary normally refers to him, is a major motivation for her as well as a plot driver, and directly contributes to the climax of the story.

Once Barbary manages to catch a shuttle and get off Earth, she learns that there’s an alien ship approaching Earth, which is why it’s been so hard to get off-world (all the politicians and so forth keep taking priority). It’s on a course to the station Barbary will be living on.

This was a quick, easy read, one that was enjoyable. There’s not a lot of depth to the plot, but that’s fine. Barbary is a fine viewpoint character, mostly concerned with the wellbeing of the people/animal close to her and making sure she doesn’t get sent back to Earth (though the wellbeing does trump that). The alien ship is important but in the background for most of the story, which makes sense since, as a child, Barbary is more interested in things closer to home. There’s some nice, logical discussion about moving and living in space, and the technology predictions (we’ve talked before how older scifi tends to be good at predicting societal trends and bad at predicting technological trends, or vice versa) are not particularly jarring.

I’d recommend it overall. And if you haven’t read anything by Vonda McIntyre, you probably should.

Read anything by Ms. McIntyre, squiders? Read Barbary?