Nominated for the 2016 Philip K. Dick Award
Labor organizer Padma Mehta is on the edge of space and the edge of burnout. All she wants is to buy out a little rum distillery and retire, but she's supposed to recruit 500 people to the Union before she can. She's only thirty-three short. So when a small-time con artist tells her about forty people ready to tumble down the space elevator to break free from her old bosses, she checks it out — against her better judgment. It turns out, of course, it was all lies.
As Padma should know by now, there are no easy shortcuts on her planet. And suddenly retirement seems farther away than ever: she's just stumbled into a secret corporate mission to stop a plant disease that could wipe out all the industrial sugarcane in Occupied Space. If she ever wants to have another drink of her favorite rum, she's going to have to fight her way through the city's warehouses, sewage plants, and up the elevator itself to stop this new plague.
File Under: Science Fiction [ Plagues, Plots & Planets | One-Eyed Wonder | Bad Tips, Good Tipples | This Little Bar I Know ]
Rakunas delivers a wildly fun science fiction debut set on a backwater planet struggling to stay relevant to the galactic economy. Santee is known (and often exploited) for its cane sugar and whisky. Padma Mehta wants nothing more than to retire and run a rum distillery, but first she must fill a recruiting quota and collect her bounty. Her potential recruits are indentured laborers who have breached their contracts and fled to Santee, only to find menial and often dangerous jobs await them. Meanwhile, Padma's current workers are restless, having been promised that new recruits will take over their jobs and free them to move on to better things. And something, or someone, is causing large batches of rum to go bad, which doesn't bode well for Padma's future. She must use her wits and her fists to unravel a conspiracy of corruption while dodging corporate goons and navigating surprisingly complex politics. This twisty David-and-Goliath tale is clever, fast-paced, and frequently funny, taking plenty of well-deserved potshots at corporate greed.