Ann Aguirre320 pages
I've been looking for a series--be it books or TV or comics--to fill the void Farscape left in my head a long time ago. Something chaotic and alien but at the same time familiar. Something that's the right blend of military science fiction, space opera, romance, and is mostly action oriented. I also wanted cool characters who are given snappy lines of dialogue to spout off at the right moments. And at least one space lizard.*
I got everything I wanted in Grimspace. Space lizards? Check. A female version of Malcolm Reynolds?** Check. Flesh-eating aliens? Check. Neat space jumping sequences in which the main protagonist moves herself and a ship through space? Check. Action? Check. Check. Check. Check.
Sirantha Jax is a jumper. She can move herself and a ship through space. The problem is that once a jumper jumps so much they tend to burnout (this means death). Sirantha is in her thirties and should have died by now, but she hasn't. That leads the Corp (queue the ominous cello because they're the bad guys) to lock her in prison so she can be studied. She's then rescued by March (queue the heroic music) who wants to use her for nefarious--but ultimately good--purposes.
Sirantha travels across the universe in a true Farscape fashion: she lands on alien planets, gets in fights, has a smart mouth, and is attracted to the ship's captain March (here's that romance element I wanted). Most of the short chapters (each only lasting a few pages) end with a punch or a kick or a revelation of some kind. None of it feels forced though, and the short chapters allow for quick reading in what is mostly an action oriented book.
Will Grimspace ever win a Hugo Award? Or a Nebula? No. But it's pulpy, it's science fiction, and the main character kicks ass. Sometimes all I want is a laser battle and a space lizard. Sometimes I want a hero who doesn't give a fuck and just shoots the flesh-eating aliens without questioning the morality of it first.
(I think we really lost the "shoots first hero" when Lucas went back and made Han shoot second--but that's another argument for another day).
Ann Aguirre delivered me a nice series to start. It might head into familiar territory with space corporations and space battles; but I am beyond the point of caring. I got a book--set in space--that really entertained me. Ann, I salute you. You brought out my fanboy side again.
Full Disclosure: I bought this on Amazon for my Kindle.
*You gotta have space lizards in a science fiction book. I just can't take it seriously if you don't.
**I can't go into how Firefly the crew is. But there is a mechanic. And a doctor who kind of doubles as a shepherd.