This is a short book of around 10-12,000 words, which I think makes it a novella, that provides background in Sue Ann Bowling’s Homecoming series. A Preamble places it in context, and having read neither of the books it follows, I welcomed this. However I found I slotted straightaway into the world Ms Bowling has built and I appreciate the way some societal developments are best played out in back stories of their own.
Timi and Amber are settlers on the planet Horizon, but the catch appears to be that the colonising company ensures they never pay off the cost of their settlement – they become debt slaves. A visit from Roi, an old friend with certain extra powers, derived in part from being a non-human, comes at an opportune moment. He’s actually on an assignment, but he is able to mix business with pleasure and solve his business problem by helping Timi and Amber.
This is an agricultural world where using low energy methods of dealing with everyday problems is essential. Day to day worries of a colonising farming community can be understood by the least farming-savvy reader. The characters are likeable and well-drawn, and the countryside vividly imagined. It’s a clean sci-fi book, suitable for teens upwards.
This is a lovely tale that makes me want to go and read the series, starting with Homecoming and then Tourist Trap. The next book, Rescue Operation, will post-date Horse Power.