RogerBW's Blog

Annex, Rich Larson 13 September 2020

2018 young adult/crossover SF, first of its series. The aliens arrived, brain-clamped all the adults, and implanted some kind of parasite in the children. Then things got bad.

This is the full novel of which Othermother was a short excerpt in the August 2018 Clarkesworld. It starts off well: Bo breaks out of the "warehouse" where he and some of the other children are housed in a drugged state, is found by Violet, and joins the Lost Boys, a gang of fellow adolescent escapees led by Wyatt. Bo's still looking for his sister Lia, in one of the other warehouses, and all the while the alien invaders are searching for him.

There's good stuff here, such as the "clamp" which puts its (adult) subjects into a virtual heaven while their bodies carry on going through the motions of life, with just enough autonomy to feed themselves occasionally, is both an interesting idea in itself and a convenient way of making sure there aren't any grown-ups around to stop the children from having adventures. The "othermothers", crude alien imitations of brain-clamped parents sent out to hunt the missing children and equipped with a range of familiar phrases, are suitably creepy. And the children are plausible: they think they're immortal and follow their charismatic leader, even when they start dying.

But somehow it never quite managed to grab me. Bo is an immigrant from Nigeria who finds he's developing superpowers; Violet is a trans girl able to self-medicate from looted pharmacies now that parental permission is a thing of the past, trying to work out what sort of person she wants to be now that she's got past that big obstacle; and Wyatt is a charismatic psychopath (as it turns out, literally, so there's the "mentally ill person as villain" trope that nobody needed to see again). But none of them ever quite came alive for me; yes, I get it, found family good, but if found family is just as hateful as genetic family what's the point?

Eh. May well work for people other than me.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog.

See also:
Clarkesworld 143, August 2018

Add A Comment

Your Name
Your Email
Your Comment

Your submission will be ignored if any field is left blank, but your email address will not be displayed. Comments will be processed through markdown.

Search
Archive
Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo geodata gin gurps gurps 101 harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo-nebula reread humour in brief avoid instrumented life kickstarter learn to play leaving earth linux lovecraftiana mecha men with beards museum mystery naval non-fiction one for the brow opera perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1