Millions died after the first contact. An alien weapon holds the key to redemption—or annihilation. Experience Karen Osborne's unforgettable science fiction debut, Architects of Memory.
2021 Locus Award for Best First Novel--Finalist
SyFY Wire SFF Reads to pick up in September
Terminally ill salvage pilot Ash Jackson lost everything in the war with the alien Vai, but she'll be damned if she loses her future. Her plan: to buy, beg, or lie her way out of corporate indenture and find a cure. When her crew salvages a genocidal weapon from a ravaged starship above a dead colony, Ash uncovers a conspiracy of corporate intrigue and betrayal that threatens to turn her into a living weapon.
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Osborne's promising but uneven debut is a twisty, political space opera about corporate espionage and alien contact. Ashlan "Ash" Jackson, a scrappy and traumatized salvage pilot determined to buy citizenship into the corporation-state of Aurora, does her best to hide both her degenerative neural disease and her on-again-off-again relationship with her captain, Kate Keller. When Ash and Kate's crew is sent to an old battlefield, Ash salvages a mysterious piece of alien technology, sparking an arms race, as various factions fight to gain control of the technology. Osborne's worldbuilding shines: the rival corporations are seductive, manipulative, and inescapable, and the constraints on Ash's life as an "uncitizen" are palpable. Unfortunately, most of the characters never quite come to life, and the endless betrayals and reveals leave readers little time to get their bearings. In this overstuffed plot, Ash's strange connection to the alien technology which leads her to have borderline-psychedelic experiences packs the biggest punch. Despite the flaws, Osborne sticks the landing, delivering a bleak, believable ending that balances horror and hope. Space opera enthusiasts will enjoy this fast-paced tale and look forward to more from Osborne.
Epic dark space opera
This story hooked me from the start and never let go. The writing is so strong, so full of pathos and grit. At times so much grit it could pass for horror. But against this backdrop of human violence and greed, the trust and camaraderie among true friends stands in relief. At its heart, this is a love story. Highly recommend.
I read the second half in one sitting
It starts off a little slow, but the second half is powerful! I can’t wait for the next book