Wednesday, 26 April 2023

Orphan Planet - Rex Burke



 With Earth in crisis, humans are travelling deep into space. But humanity’s future just took a wrong turn.

 A seventeen-year colony-ship voyage – a straight shot to a new planet. Handpicked, single-minded crew, and a thousand settlers in hypersleep. No children, no families, no fuss.

That was the plan, anyway.

 Captain Juno Washington commands a ship of loners and oddballs. The teenagers of the Odyssey Earth didn’t ask to be born, and face an uncertain future. And Jordan Booth really didn’t want to be woken up early to look after a bunch of kids.

 After an unexpected change of course, relationships are tested like never before. If they listen to advice, pull together and stop squabbling, they might just make it.

 Yeah, right. Good luck with that.

                         MY THOUGHTS

 The time is now but the timeline is slightly different. On the Earth of Orphan Planet climate change has wrecked the planet, lots of Britain is under water so we are reaching to the stars. Luckily a suitable New Earth has been located and the prospective settlers are on their way - fast asleep for 17 years.

 Unfortunately the plans to keep the crew don't quite work out and we have six children born on the early phase of the journey . . .

 Shoot forward 16 years and our six children are now teenagers, the crew don't have the time to bring them up, educate them etc so Jordan Booth is brought out of Hypersleep and given the task. Not what he was expecting but them's the breaks.

 Nearing journey's end 'events happen' and Jordan and his protégés are separated from the ship and have to learn how to cope for themselves. But with a life spent onboard Odyssey Earth these kids have never experienced 'outside'.

 This is where the story really comes into its own. Burke really captures the experience well. Planetfall for people who have never been outside has a sense of fear and wonder that the reader shares with them. There is danger and peril but there is also discovery and bonding.

 The highlight character for me is the ships near sentient AI computer (although he probably wouldn't like to be called a computer) Reeves - self named after its favourite film actor. Reeves is highly intelligent (obviously) and, trust me, he knows it so when events lead to Reeves becoming a lesser version of itself it tends to feel a bit more needy and gave me quite a few chuckles. In fact Reeves gave me one of my favourite lines - after telling the teens it'd watched every film ever (in 10 seconds) he goes on "Yes, I've read all the books - that's 20 seconds of my life I will never get back". Very Marvin (Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy).

 Orphan Earth is feel good Sci-Fi - adventure, alien planets and a whole heap of fun and I really can't recommend it highly enough. Don't let this one slip under your radar folks, miss this and you are missing a treat.

All the stars/5 cannot wait for the next in the series.

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