Orbit. (Red Space, Bk. 1). Apr. 2023. 688p. ISBN 9780316496742. pap. $18.99. SF
Special Agent Petrov and Dr. Lei Zhang have served their interstellar government with the best of intentions but not always with the best results. Both are being given another chance by being sent to Earth’s first deep-space colony, Paradise-1, to provide a security overview. The second they are woken from their cryogenic travel sleep, their ship is under attack by frozen yams. Quickly orienting themselves and working with the ship’s captain and its inventive and scene-stealing robot Rapscallion, the crew realizes that they are surrounded by dozens of ships that appear to be inexplicably devoid of life. As Wellington expertly balances a steady stream of increasingly dire action sequences, intensely creepy worldbuilding, satisfying character development, and an original monster stalking the protagonists, readers will be invested in the plot while coming to truly care about the characters along the way.
VERDICT Wellington (The Last Astronaut), one of the innovators of novel serializations, retains that spirit in this open-ended series starter. A solid entry in the popular space-horror subgenre, which will appeal to fans of S.A. Barnes and John Scalzi.
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