Medusa Uploaded by Emily Devenport offers readers a fast-paced science fiction thriller on the limits of power and control, and the knife-edge between killing for revenge or a greater good.
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My name is Oichi Angelis, and I am a worm.
They see me every day. They consider me harmless. And that's the trick, isn't it?
A generation starship can hide many secrets. When an Executive clan suspects Oichi of insurgency and discreetly shoves her out an airlock, one of those secrets finds and rescues her.
Officially dead, Oichi begins to rebalance power one assassination at a time and uncovers the shocking truth behind the generation starship and the Executive clans.
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Shape-shifting robots have nothing on the chameleon abilities of Oichi Angelis, the main character of this labyrinthine tale of revenge set on the generation ship Olympia. Oichi's parents died when their ship was destroyed as a power play by the ruling Executives. Oichi was put into domestic service and rewired so that most of the data from her senses is sent to the Executives, leaving her "partially deaf, dumb, and blind"; she primarily navigates the world through taste and smell. She's aided by her cybernetic connection to a sentient robot, Medusa, who sneaks her forbidden sensory data (which has the unfortunate effect of making her limitations feel less real and relevant for the reader than they otherwise might). Seeking revenge, Oichi infiltrates the inner circles of the elite. Dodging both assassination attempts and marriage proposals, Oichi pieces together the agendas of her Executive opponents and their hidden allies while recruiting more crew for links to Medusa units. Devenport, a Philip K. Dick Award winner under her Maggy Thomas pseudonym, cleverly reveals the underworld of the typical shiny starships of fiction. She has an admirable willingness to spread out the action and allow her main character to be fallible, which adds depth to the work and prevents the story from devolving into a "chosen one" narrative. The home lives of her characters are as important to the plot as their occupations, further balancing and deepening the depictions. As the revolution begun by Oichi spirals out of her control, readers will be riveted.
Good idea, execution lacking
The premise was good, and the prose engaging. However, the plot is choppy and it seems like the editor moved chunks of the story around but not in a coherent way.