Bold, lyrical and imaginative, this space opera is a must for fans of Becky Chambers and Alastair Reynolds
Nia Imani is a woman out of place and outside of time. Decades of travel through the stars are condensed into mere months for her, though the years continue to march steadily onward for everyone she has ever known. The captain of a transport ship contracted to the Umbrai corporation, she lives only for the next paycheck, until the day she meets a mysterious boy, fallen from the sky.
A boy, broken by his past, and hunted by his present. For he is one of the few born with the gift of the Jaunt. The ability to travel instantly anywhere in the universe. An ability that threatens the vicelike control of the settled worlds by corporations such as Umbrai.
Fumiko Nakajima, the great scientist responsible for the design of bird-like Stations that Umbrai uses to control vast tracts of space, has been searching for one such as he for a thousand years.
Together, they set out to protect the boy, a journey that will cross the decades and light years all the way out to the fringes of settled space where the laws of civilisation do not apply, and they will have only each other to rely on.
In a profound look at humankind's spacefaring future, Jimenez's debut tells of both anguish and love as the result of heart-wrenching decisions. A century from now, aerospace engineer Fumiko believes humans should leave the climate-ravaged Earth, and regretfully chooses her career designing space stations over her lover, Dana, who would rather advocate for trying to save the planet. But Dana's efforts fail, and Earth is abandoned. Fumiko extends her life through periods of suspended animation as humans colonize the galaxy. Nearly 1,000 years later, Ahro, a boy who doesn't speak, crash-lands on a distant farming world. Spaceship captain Nia agrees to take Ahro back to Pelican, a station Fumiko designed. As they travel through "pocket space," where a few months pass for them while years go by in normal space, they grow close and Nia becomes protective of Ahro. When Fumiko learns Ahro has powers that could speed up space travel abilities sought by Fumiko's employer, the megacorporation Umbai, which is looking for more efficient ways to pillage planets she offers Nia the opportunity to keep the boy hidden, which Nia accepts, leading to ripples of choices and consequences. This is a mostly progressive future, but classism, unchecked capitalism, and resource exhaustion loom large. This extraordinary science fiction epic, which delves deep into the perils of failing to learn from one's mistakes, is perfect for fans of big ideas and intimate reflections.