Sisters of the Vast Black

Tor.com. Nov. 2019. 165p. ISBN 9781250260253. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250260260. SF
DEBUTAfter the devastating Great War 40 years ago, the Earth Central Governance may have turned its back on the outlying systems, but not the Church. The sisters of the Order of Saint Rita are diligent in their mission to bring aid, mercy, and some small blessings to newly forming colonies. But some have longings, some secrets of their own, and even their (attempted) consensus decision-making is put to the test when their living ship, Our Lady of Impossible Constellations, seems to have its own opinions, and a new priest is assigned to oversee their convent. Their faith and sisterhood are further tested when a distress call from a recently visited colony shows that not only is the Earth Central Governance reaching out once again, but it may be the source of the danger.
VERDICT Rather’s lean prose works, but the characters, along with readers, arrive at the end with some of the same unanswered questions. Overall, an intriguing debut that touches on philosophical ideas of war, faith, and individuality.

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