Review – Remnant Population

Cover of Remnant Population by Elizabeth MoonRemnant Population, Elizabeth Moon

Remnant Population is a quiet sort of SF book. It’s more along the lines of, say, Ursula Le Guin than Lois McMaster Bujold or David Weber: at least, there’s very little by the way of epic space fights, and much more about people. Mostly just one person, alone. I loved that the protagonist is an old woman; the ending, with the recruitment of old ladies, seemed like a bit of a joke even so, but I liked that this is very much a defence of the worth and importance of the elderly, and particularly elderly women.

I liked that the aliens really are weird and nothing like us — that all our exo-scientists’ assumptions were just way out. I think if we do find other life out there, it might be like this: we might not even know what we’re looking at. They might learn in radically different ways (sorry, Pinker, Chomsky); they might mature at different speeds. We base our assumptions on carbon based mammals…

Perhaps the unrealistic thing is how easily it’s settled. You require a set up like Le Guin’s Ekumen for that, and this seemed more like a society run primarily by corporations. It didn’t seem like cooperation would be so easy… But even then, there’s a hint at how that can be done; the People join in the commercial enterprises of the rest of the universe.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one; it’s not going to be a new favourite, but it was a good read.

Rating: 4/5

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