Meet Andorra Pett; with her trusty sidekick, she's taken over a derelict cafe. On a mining station. It just happens to be orbiting Saturn! She's hoping for a fresh start, away from all the drama of her old life. It's a chance to relax and start again in a place where nobody knows anything about her or her past. But the cafe holds a secret, and secrets have a habit of coming out; whether you want them to or not. And being accident prone doesn't help. The more you try to pretend that you know what's going on, the worse it gets. Andorra's plans for peace and quiet get lost amid the revelations and skulduggery and she soon realises that the fate of the whole station lies in her hapless hands. In space, you can still trip over your feet; the question is, will you land upright?
I’m not usually a cozy mystery fan because it always drives me crazy when people don’t report crimes to the police and decide to investigate themselves. I decided to give this one a try though because of the twist on the genre. This cafe owner who is investigating a crime is living on a space station.
Andorra and her friend Cyril moved to a space station near Saturn. It is there to support mining in the rings of Saturn. The previous owner of the cafe left suddenly. When cleaning the cafe to reopen though, they find his body. Not knowing who to trust on the station because they are new, they keep him in the freezer.
The book gets into issues of sexual harassment and infidelity because the previous owner was known for seducing many women on the station and then keeping records that could be used to blackmail them. Anyone could be a suspect. I was reading this book just as all the accusations of sexual harassment in Hollywood were coming to light. It was a jarring juxtaposition to see this plotline at that time. It made it feel very timely and topical.
I liked the world building. Andorra is taken all over the station to see how life on the space station works. It was well thought out and logical. I love that there is a farm.
The book takes place an unspecified time in the future when Mars has been colonized for a long time. Unfortunately, there still is homophobia on the space station. That surprised me because usually I don’t see that in sci-fi I read. It made me uncomfortable because I kept thinking that we should be over that by then.
Overall I did enjoy this story. I would be interested in reading more in this series. Check this one out especially if you enjoy both cozy mysteries and sci-fi.
A native of Brixham in Devon, Richard Dee’s family left Devon when he was in his teens and settled in Kent. Leaving school at 16 he briefly worked in a supermarket, then went to sea and travelled the world in the Merchant Navy, qualifying as a Master Mariner in 1986. Coming ashore to be with his growing family, he used his sea-going knowledge in several jobs, including Marine Insurance Surveyor and Dockmaster at Tilbury, before becoming a Port Control Officer in Sheerness and then at the Thames Barrier in Woolwich. In 1994 he was head-hunted and offered a job as a Thames Estuary Pilot. In 1999 he transferred to the Thames River Pilots, where he regularly took vessels of all sizes through the Thames Barrier and upriver as far as H.M.S. Belfast and through Tower Bridge. In all, he piloted over 3,500 vessels in a 22-year career with the Port of London Authority. Richard was offered part time working in 2010, which allowed him to return to live in Brixham, where he took up writing and blogging. He retired in 2015, when he set up and ran a successful Organic bakery, supplying local shops and cafés. The urge to write eventually overtook the urge to bake but Richard still makes bread for friends and family. Richard is married with three adult children and two grandchildren.
He can be found at www.richarddeescifi.co.uk
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/RichardDeeAuthor
Twitter – https://twitter.com/@RichardDockett1
“AfroSF is the first ever anthology of Science Fiction by African writers only that was open to submissions of original (previously unpublished) works across Africa and abroad.”
Short story collections take me so long to read. I’ve had this book on my iPad for years. Here are some of my favorites.
Moom by Nnedi Okorafor – This is the short story that was reworked into the opening of her novel Lagoon. What if alien first contact on Earth was made by a swordfish?
Home Affairs by Sarah Lotz – I loved this story of a bureaucratic nightmare taking place in a modern city. When I think of African sci fi I tend to think of monsters and countryside. This turns those assumptions around and makes a nightmare out of the most annoying aspects of modern life – waiting in line.
The Sale by Tendai Huchu – Third world countries have been sold to corporations and citizens’ health is monitored at all times in these new perfect cities. But what if you want to rebel?
Planet X by S.A. Partridge – A new alien society has made contact and the people of Earth are afraid. One girl thinks that humans have more to fear from themselves than from the aliens.
Closing Time by Liam Kruger – Alcohol and time travel shouldn’t be taken together
It's Carnival time, and the Carribean-colonized planet of Toussaint is celebrating with music, dance and pageantry. Masked "Midnight Robbers" waylay revelers with brandished weapons and spellbinding words. But to young Tan-Tan, the Robber Queen is simply a favourite costume to wear at the festival--until her power-corrupted father commits an unforgivable crime.
Suddenly, both father and daughter are thrust into the brutal world of New Half-Way Tree. Here monstrous creatures from folklore are real, and the humans are violent outcasts in the wilds. Here Tan-Tan must reach into the heart of myth--and become the Robber Queen herself. For only the Robber Queen's legendary powers can save her life...and set her free.
Toussaint is a world first settled by people from the Caribbean. Everything is controlled and monitored by nanobots. People are provided for and no one needs to do manual labor unless they want to do it. Tan-Tan’s father is the mayor of her town. He and her mother have a tempestuous relationship. Both are immature and self-centered. When her father commits a crime, he knows how he will be punished. He will be sent through a dimensional rift to New Half-Way Tree, another version of Toussaint without the technology. This is a one way journey. No one ever comes back.
I’m been meaning to read Nalo Hopkinson for a while. In the beginning this was a very difficult book for me to read because of the Creole that it is written in. She uses pronouns and verb tenses that don’t match. It actually hurt to read. I’m such a grammar snob, that even though I knew it was deliberate, it was so jarring that I didn’t think I could get into the story because of it. Eventually, I was able to let it slide enough to read the story. I think it was the repetitive nature of the wrongness that numbed me to it.
Another thing I wondered while reading this – Are there any novels about Caribbean men that portray them in a positive light? Granted, I’ve only read novels written by Caribbean women so they may be biased but they can’t all be this horrible. Tan-Tan’s father is lazy and arrogant. He takes Tan-Tan to New Half-Way Tree with him without making any preparations for their new life. He is mean to the local population. He doesn’t have any redeeming qualities. It is hard to read about Tan-Tan loving him so much when he is so awful.
This is also a story about colonization. There is a native race on New Half-Way Tree. The prisoner-immigrants from Toussaint treat them as inferior. They don’t know that the natives are playing along with their ignorance. Tan-Tan finds herself at the mercy of them after a few years on the planet. Should they help her or will her presence in their community lead to disaster?