cover image Remnant Population

Remnant Population

Elizabeth Moon. Baen Books, $22 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-87718-7

Employing colonies of contract workers, corporations harvest the resources of alien worlds in the future envisioned here by Moon (Winning Colors). To the faceless bureaucracy that owns her contract, 70-year-old Ofelia Falfurrias is dead weight: too old to work, too old to bear children, she's too old to be worth keeping alive. Tired of being dictated to, Ofelia stays behind when the Company moves the colony to another planet. Her newfound freedom is intoxicating, but she quickly discovers that she is not alone. The planet has an indigenous race, one that has good reason to suspect human interlopers. Ofelia must convince her hosts that she is not a threat; then she'll have to learn to live with them. Moon does a splendid job of bringing her characters to life. Ofelia is as likable as she is cantankerous, and the aliens are vividly imagined. Themes of independence and the value of wisdom form the backbone of this well-written, original novel. (May)