It’s been a while since I did one of these. Truth be told I haven’t been reading much (long-form fiction) lately. Grinding to finish a couple projects. So it goes.
I was bemoaning in previous posts that I had trouble finding comfort reading, and in my current state of overwork anything I read needed to be a break from everything else, so, well, here is some comfort fiction that I enjoyed.
Sunny Moraine is an author whose short work I’ve previously enjoyed, so when I heard that she had a novel out, together with another writer, I was interested. When she described it as a “Big Gay Space Opera” I had to buy it. And Line and Orbit pretty much lives up to that description.
You know the story. Genetically-engineered boy gets kicked out of genetically-engineered society, meets Nomadic Space Burner boy, they fight but secretly like each other, eventually they meet cute. Genetically-engineered society comes after genetically-engineered boy, genetically-engineered boy stands with Nomadic Space Burners to fight them, hilarity (and bloodshed) ensues. (Really mostly bloodshed.) And (spoilers) stuff turns out all right enough in the end.
The plot structure wouldn’t have been out of place in a fantasy novel, and it felt a bit paint-by-numbers at times. At the same time, I like the colors they chose, and, like all these things, there’s more going on under the surface than that analogy gives it credit for. I had some issues with details — some computer security, military tactical, and gay sex things which just didn’t add up. But the plot kicked along at a fair enough clip that I could move past the flaws.
The world felt somewhat like the EVE Online world, for which I have fondness — the book is really what I wanted the EVE novels to be. Also the writing is technically quite well-done — facile but with depth, good plain style, and capable of beauty without becoming overblown. And ultimately I quite liked the characters and their relationships — both the main characters, Lock and Adam, and the supporting cast as well. (Also, positive portrayal of transpeople go!)
So, you know. If you like the colors implied by “Big Gay Space Opera” too, check it out.