RogerBW's Blog

Medusa in the Graveyard, Emily Devenport 26 April 2020

2018 science fiction, second of its series. Oichi Angelis and Medusa are now among the leaders of the generation ship Olympia, but that hasn't solved their problems; it's just given them new ones.

This is absolutely not a place to start this story; indeed, even talking about this book will provide spoilers for the first one. It's assumed that the reader will remember the basic nature of factions that Oichi discovered in the previous book.

But apart from the factional fighting there's conflict between Oichi and Medusa, and they both have some growing-up to do; and there's the exploration of the titular Graveyard, a resting-place for ancient spacecraft that really aren't dead.

"How can you propose such a thing, Oichi? How can you risk Ashur's life?"

That was the right question. Sadly, I could sidestep it by telling the truth.

The non-linearity of the first book is largely gone here; some early chapters are out of order but after that things settle down into a straightforward narrative progression which I think serves the story rather better (especially when there is actual mucking about with time going on).

"Ahi," I said, "has anyone ever tried to take a raft down [the river] Maisy from one end to the other?"

She looked out over the water. "Yes. A team from the first colony did it."

"Did they get to the other end?"

"Not yet."

There's still gloom-laden foreshadowing from Oichi, but this time there's more of a sense of peril not just for her but for the people she's trying to protect, and altogether this book gets right again the things that I liked about the first volume, while fixing the things that I didn't.

Medusa took one look at him and said, Now I know you didn't kill him. You're not a head-chopper-offer.

I felt hurt that Medusa had also suspected me of killing Nemo, but I have to admit, the first thing that occurred to me is that I've never been a head-chopper-offer because I've never had a tool by which I could accomplish such a thing. Technically that's innocence by default.

The writing is light but there's subtlety there; there's also a large cast, most of whom are of some importance, so it's worth working to keep them straight. It's been suggested that a third volume will follow, but no title or publication date has been announced. Had I read this a few weeks earlier I'd have nominated it for the Hugo over Ancestral Night.

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