Situation Normal

Candlemark & Gleam. Dec. 2020. 496p. ISBN 9781936460991. pap. $24.45. SF
Cedar Commons is an uninhabited forest planet that is staffed by only two human security guards, Becky Twice and former Terran navy warrant officer Hiroko Ingridsdottor. But war has once again been declared between the Terran Outreach and its rival superpower, The Fist of Joy (for no reason that anyone can determine). When a ship of woodworkers decides to crash-land on the planet to avoid being drafted into the Terran navy at the same time a smuggling ship arrives to retrieve a cache of a hallucinogenic drug that only affects humans, these two rent-a-cops will find their lives changed. Cedar Commons plays an important role in the upcoming conflict as the planet becomes the go-to destination for smugglers, spies, and military personnel alike. The motley cast of aliens and humans who meet and interact on this planet might just save the universe as we know it—or destroy it completely.
VERDICT Richardson’s (Constellation Games) new space opera is a satirical look at war, politics, megabrands, and cultural division. Seamlessly blending serious subject matter with humor, this book shines a light on today’s issues in a way that will have readers laughing one minute and wanting to cry the next.
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