This was a book of the Month in the Goodreads Space Opera group, and I think it’s the first of their books I’ve read since I joined. I’m so pleased I did, as you’ll see below! I borrowed this book from my library mobile service.
Somewhere within our crowded sky, a crew of wormhole builders hops from planet to planet, on their way to the job of a lifetime. To the galaxy at large, humanity is a minor species, and one patched-up construction vessel is a mere speck on the starchart. This is an everyday sort of ship, just trying to get from here to there.
But all voyages leave their mark, and even the most ordinary of people have stories worth telling. A young Martian woman, hoping the vastness of space will put some distance between herself and the life she‘s left behind. An alien pilot, navigating life without her own kind. A pacifist captain, awaiting the return of a loved one at war.
Set against a backdrop of curious cultures and distant worlds, this episodic tale weaves together the adventures of nine eclectic characters, each on a journey of their own.
This one of the best new books in scifi that I’ve read for a long while. The world-building in it is superb, with a crew of multi-species in a where humans have been let into the political organisation rather than dominating it, and plenty of weird and wonderful ways of living, loving and cultivating odd planets. I loved the way the author brought issues between cultures out without making anyone seem odd. Well, the symbiotic relationship bordered on odd at times, but then, it was to the individuals as well.
The story kicks off well, plenty of pace and intrigue (You know I like intrigue, it keeps me reading.) Once the journey began, the narrative risked getting into a series of flash fictions, but it strung together well enough. I found this useful as an example of how to handle the tedium of long space journeys, and gives me more of a clue as to how it reads. I have a long tedious space journey in Viridian #2, in case you wondered, and spent quite a while thinking how to get the tedium across without boring my reader.
The Angry Planet end of the journey is really well described, and the conflicts involved were inspiring. I think the author has the psychology of these multi-cultural species really well taped. The ending was heart-rending. Unless you’re hard-hearted. I’m looking forward to the second book, which has a shorter title. 🙂
A wonderfully built universe where humans are anything but in the ascendent. Richly told adventure of a team of tunnellers awarded a contract that is nowhere near as simple as it sounds. Vividly imagined, and well worth a read.