Tor. May 2019. 240p. ISBN 9781250229816. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250229809. SF
Gunjita and Cav are married space scientists for Gleem Galactic who are questioning everything. They’re also part of a rejuvenation program that allows humans to return to a younger version of themselves. The current survivable maximum number of “juvs” is two, although rumors abound that the founder of the process has attempted a third. While Gunjita accepted her second juv and is enjoying her youth, Cal has not and remains in his early 80s. Rather than focus on this pressure point in their relationship, they concentrate on a mysterious blob that arrives on the side of a probe they’ve retrieved. Their scientific exploration quickly begins to mirror their interpersonal introspection, as each question about the blob, which they name Ooi, launches a parallel conversation about their relationship. They’ve shared more than 50 years together—do they want 50 more? Is the Ooi alive, or similarly stuck in a period of stasis? Is death welcome after two lifetimes, or can it be stalled indefinitely?
VERDICT Blumlein (All I Ever Dreamed) gives us Waiting for Godot, set in space, in succinct and intelligent storytelling.
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