3 March 2018
This is a rather interesting story, told from in two different parts, one from the point of view of a woman, Cosette, who is feeling very trapped by her life, she is mid-pregnancy with her 2nd child in a world where you can only have a single child due to population control, living with a husband who was the one who basically forced her to get pregnant (not physically but emotionally), and is now not being very supportive. This world has an amazing piece of technology that allows for one (and only one) of the parents to pass on their memories and life experiences to the child (and thus the experiences they carry of previous relatives, so in this case Cosette has the memories of her Mother, Grandmother, and Great-Grandmother, but they are all like living personalities in her head, able to interact with her when she needs, providing information, memories, she can speak the languages they spoke, and understands the fields of knowledge that they did, without ever having to learn them.
Humanity has created a way to pass down knowledge from one person to the next, without ever losing it, the perfect knowledge transference. Of course, it is only one-sided, and every family can only have one child, so a choice is made at conception to have a male or female – keeping the population balanced, and knowledge balanced. Cosette’s story tells of how she is struggling to finish a project, of a great starship, about to leave Earth with 150,000 people to go and colonise another planet, and try and help Earth, which is struggling with the burden of so many people. It is during her story that we learn that her baby is not all that it seems, and worse, Earth and the Solar System are under attack by an alien race of unknown type, seeking to destroy everything.
The 2nd story is about a young human boy, Moshie, the last human alive, or known to exist in a universe in which all human life was destroyed. An alien Empress came to Earth and destroyed it, but her destruction of Earth was seen as a failure. As a race of shape-shifters, the Empress is forced to take the form of a human, and to take responsibility of the last human, Moshie. Unbeknownst to her, and most everyone else, Moshie is kind of different, he has some special gifts. He is super intelligent, able to assimilate languages at incredible speeds, and learn things beyond the capabilities of normal humans. By the time he is a toddler, he knows hundreds of the languages spoken on the strange planet that he now lives on with his strange ‘step-mom’.
However, he is still a weakling in the eyes of most of the other races, and is bullied constantly.
The two stories evolve, moving forward at a rapid pace, each giving us a deep insight into not just our main characters and the struggles that they are having to face on a daily basis, but the struggles of those around them as well. For Cosette, this relates to her friends and family facing the impending end of their planet, and for poor little Moshie, this is the constant bullying, harassment, and the realisation that he may not survive much longer.
I don’t want to give too much more away, events that go beyond this will give away spoilers, and this is a story that is well worth reading, as it is both exciting, interesting, and at times, a clever thriller with some surprising, and gripping outcomes that you don’t necessarily see coming.
Pease has created a fascinating backdrop for his characters to play in (both Cosette and Moshie). The future on Earth is one that is not uncommon in a lot of different Sci-fi stories, quickly becoming a place that will be unliveable for humanity due to our treatment of the planet. In a rather interesting contrast, the world that Moshie finds himself dumped onto is one that is in a state of careful flux to maintain it. However, it is also one that is not natural by any means, so none of the natural beauties that we so take for granted exist.
This is a story of just mind-blowing technology, some fascinating, contrasting characters, and two storylines that have a lot more in common than you originally realise.
This isn't just Sci-Fi, this is a techno-thriller, a brilliant character story, and a story with a lot of similarities to Enders Game. Don’t Miss it.