Review copy provided by the publisher.
Nicky Drayden is one of the most creative writers working in speculative fiction at this time. One of the ones with the most pleasant, happiest work…I can’t say that, really. But creative, oh Lord yes, and this is no exception. Escaping Exodus takes a generation ship saga and moves those ships inside massive gigantic space beasts. Y’know, just another one of those.
So if you are thinking, human parasitism inside the organs of a truly epic-sized space herd, wow, cool, yes, you are correct, and if you are thinking, that has the potential to have some really gross bits with sphincters and bodily fluids, you are also very correct. Drayden does not wimp out on including pus and goo here. Our characters carve bone, but also they deal with organs galore.
It’s all in the service of real, flawed human relationships and science fictional conceit that goes beyond “ooh lookit,” though: the lives of the giant beasts are tied intimately to the lives of our protagonists in ways that go beyond the understanding their culture has evolved. They have to come up with new and better ways to manage their own lives–which they can barely do under the current cultural norms–and the beast’s life and life in space, if anyone is to survive. If you’re thinking about the interdependence of life and fragile ecosystems–which, ahem, please do–or if you’re thinking about the way people who love each other manage to hurt each other anyway, you probably want this book. Pus and all.