Barbary Station

Saga: S. & S. Oct. 2017. 448p. ISBN 9781481476867. $27.99; pap. ISBN 9781481476874. $16.99; ebk. ISBN 9781481476881. SF
Captain Sloane and his crew of pirates have taken over Barbary Station as their base, protected from capture by turrets and a lead cloud that limits communication. Adda believes that the only way she and her girlfriend Iridian can live happily and comfortably is to join her brother on Sloane's crew. To impress the crew with their brains, daring, and technical expertise, the two women hijack a spaceship and deliver it as a gift to the pirates. Stealing the ship turns out to be the easy part. Adda and Iridian soon discover that far from being a lavish pirate base, Barbary Station is a crumbling wreck controlled by a rogue artificial intelligence, AegiSKADA, that wants to kill them all. Sloane has an ultimatum for his would-be crewmates: defeat AegiSKADA and earn their place or die trying.
VERDICT Strong characters and fast-paced action define this debut sf thriller, which presents a future full of interspace travel, vast AIs, and fierce, abiding love. Hard sf fans will appreciate the technical explorations of life in the cold and black, and readers of all stripes will find themselves rooting for Adda, Iridian, and the rest of the crew. [Previewed in Marlene Harris's "Galaxy Quest" sf/fantasy preview, LJ 8/17.]

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