RogerBW's Blog

Earth 2788, Janet Edwards 05 September 2017

2014 young adult science fiction, collection of short stories in the Earth Girl setting.

These stories were originally released free on the author's web site, but have now been removed to "make room for new material". They're all set shortly before the events of Earth Girl, the first of the trilogy, and five of the eight deal with how Jarra's classmates in that book came to be studying pre-diaspora history on Earth.

Which is a bit of a problem, because these stories try hard to avoid spoilers for the events of Earth Girl, major parts of which dealt with diving into the backgrounds of those five people and discovering how they weren't perfect matches for their sector-of-origin stereotypes after all. If one were to read these stories first, Earth Girl would be somewhat defanged; if, as I did, you read the novels first, there's a feeling of conscious restraint, making sure these people don't develop too far. That doesn't make them bad stories, but it does reduce their emotional and dramatic force.

The first story deals with an incident in Jarra's life, which feels pretty minor and not at all character-building. The last covers Drago Tell Dramis (from the second and third books) in a tricky emotional situation with a too-easy answer. It's the penultimate one that I found best, dealing with the senior military man from the first book as he contemplates retirement from the first-in teams that check the safety of new colony planets, and considers his life so far and what he might do next.

When the stories err in length, it's by being too short and inconclusive rather than too long and flabby, which is definitely the way to fall if you have a choice.

I don't think this would be an ideal place to enter the series – that's still Earth Girl – but it gives the reader some additional viewpoints into the world and the characters.

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