Monday, 27 February 2017

The Stars Are Legion is bizarrely original space opera

One of the joys of good space opera, aside from the action, is the discovery of worlds that are meaningfully alien. In award-winning science fiction author Kameron Hurley’s latest novel, The Stars Are Legion, we get to slither into the fascinating, saliva-covered scenery of the biotech world-ships that make up the mysterious Legion. As civil war rips the Legion apart, Hurley draws us into an intense, Bourne Identity-style mystery about who our heroes are and why they’re fighting.

Zan awakens in a medical bay. She can speak, but she doesn’t know who or where she is. A doctor explains that Zan’s been recycled and reconstructed, hinting that she’s been in this situation many times before. But that’s all Zan knows—well, that and the fact that she has the kind of warrior instincts that let her fight like she’s about to enter the Octagon. Plus, she knows an awful lot about how to ride sentient space-motorcycles. The Legion flies these beasts from one ship to the other, trailing plumes of yellow exhaust like something out of a 1960s comic book.

Biotech worlds

A mystery woman named Jayd eventually visits Zan and tells her that she’s currently on a planet ship called Katazyrna. Jayd tells Zan that the time has come to get back to her mission to penetrate the defenses of another world called Mokshi. And it would be nice if she could do it without getting all her troops killed this time around. Apparently, whenever Zan goes to Mokshi, she’s completely destroyed and loses her memory. But Jayd and her mother, Lord Katazyrna, keep sending Zan back because she’s the only person able to breach Mokshi’s outer perimeter.

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