Monday, July 21, 2014

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

This is Science Fiction.  It is written in alternating voices of Tarver a career serviceman and war hero and Lilac, overprotected and wealthy daughter of THE CEO of apparently the only planet *terraforming corporation.  And, Tarver being interrogated.
Tarver meets Lilac when his protective senses kick in at a ball on board a spaceship in hyper drive.  A person who did not fit in with the others approaches her.  He rushes to her protection.  She did not need it and eventually brushes him off as beneath her after what he thought was an interesting conversation.  Shortly after the ship begins to quake and shudder and it is clear it is in trouble.  Folks are instructed to go their assigned escape pods and a stampede ensues.  Tarver sees Lilac in trouble once again, grabs her gets to the nearest escape pod and tries to launch.  It is Lilac's knowledge of the technology aboard that allows the damaged craft to launch and eventually land on an unknown planet.  This scene is very like the scene from Titanic.  Its just on a space ship instead.  The pair watch their ship fall apart and fall from the sky onto the planet.  While struggling to survive the pair save each others' lives multiple time.  Tarver has the survival skills and instinct to know what to do nest.  Lilac has tech knowledge and a lot of determination.  She did not want Tarver to see her as helpless.
While the pair assume the planet is terraformed and help is already on the way, there are dangers present not usually included on terraformed planets.  The plants are largely new to Tarver who has been to many planets and on many military campaigns.  And, Lilac is experiencing visions and voices that seem to be real and that eventually affect Tarver as well.  The pair head to the downed spacecraft hoping for survival supplies.  After removing as much as they can before rotting smell sets in and with Tarver severely injured and out of commission for a time they head to what they believe is a building of some type.  And so they explore and survive and seem to be lead in their actions by the voices and visions.  Perhaps there are living beings here trying to communicate.  What happens next is tragic beyond anything I've experienced reading in a while.  Lilac is not who she was at the beginning, and of course neither is Tarver, but he was not changed by the beings with the illusions and voices. Their relationship is a bit of a tragic romance the ending is for you to read. What the illusions and voices are have their own tragedy.  Those beings seem to me to be a nod towards Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles so I would suggest that as a next read for those who enjoy this novel.  They are eventually rescued by a corporate spaceship.  
*Terraforming is transforming a planet into an environment livable by humans.

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