In the follow-up to Lightless and Supernova, C. A. Higgins fuses science fiction, suspense, and drama to tell the story of a most unlikely heroine: Ananke, once a military spacecraft, now a sentient artificial intelligence. Ananke may have the powers of a god, but she is consumed by a very human longing: to know her creators.
Ananke may have the powers of a god, but she is consumed by a very human longing: to know her creators. Now Ananke is on a quest to find companionship, understanding, and even love. She is accompanied by Althea, the engineer who created her, and whom she sees as her mother. And she is in search of her “father,” Matthew, the programmer whose code gave her the spark of life.
But Matthew is on a strange quest of his own, traveling the galaxy alongside Ivan, with whom he shares a deeply painful history. Ananke and her parents are racing toward an inevitable collision, with consequences as violent as the birth of the solar system itself—and as devastating as the discovery of love.
Praise for Radiate
“Radiate will take you to the corners of space you’ve never even dreamed of going and beyond.”—Bustle
“Gripping . . . This sci-fi universe [is] utterly believable, while metaphor and allegory enrich the characters.”—New York Daily News
“A compelling emotional tale about two people trying to save each other from a disaster of their own making.”—Kirkus Reviews
The Lightless Trilogy is “a perfect sci-fi entry point that matches a rich, character-driven story with fundamental questions about who we are and why we’re here.”—Los Angeles Times
Higgins's third near-future novel (after Supernova) drifts along with its main characters mostly bereft of agency. The main story follows Mattie Gale and Leontios "Ivan" Ivanov from the moment they escape the Ananke with Ivan gravely wounded. Much of the rest of the book follows the pair of revolutionaries as they seek to reunite with Constance Harper, who's Mattie's foster sister and Ivan's lover. The three of them, led by Constance, planned and carried out the destruction of the Earth-based System, which controlled all of the solar system's colonies; now, rebel factions fight among themselves. Mattie and Ivan are held prisoner more than once and often don't even know where to look for Constance in the vastness of the solar system. Intermittent chapters look back, sometimes at revolutionary actions but just as often at more personal moments among Mattie, Ivan, and Constance. Lurking in the background is Ananke, the sentient ship inadvertently created by Mattie, who longs to recapture him. Despite the war setting, this isn't an action story but one of characters, and it suffers from their lack of control over their fates.