47North: Amazon. Feb. 2023. 448p. ISBN 9781662505096. pap. $16.99. SF
Featuring intricate worldbuilding, the latest from Divya (Machinehood) follows a classic science fiction trope: Can humanity survive on an extrasolar planet? Jayanthi and her pilot Vaha journey to the newly discovered planet Meru to test its habitability. Their partnership is complicated by the history of humans and alloys, “posthuman” beings that use genetic engineering to advance their bodies and abilities beyond those of humans. The two species have not always lived in harmony, and now it falls on Jayanthi, the adopted human child of alloy parents who aspires to be more like them, and Vaha, an alloy more in touch with zir emotions than others of zir species, to succeed at a mission that seems destined from the outset to fail. Divya imbues the novel’s world with Hindi-inspired terms but gives enough context that the text remains easy and enjoyable to read.
VERDICT This is a thrilling combination of traditional SF space travel and forward-thinking examinations of what “humanity” will mean in the future. With its blend of science fiction and social justice concepts, this will appeal to advanced teen and adult readers alike who enjoy progressive science fiction.
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