cover image Dream Houses

Dream Houses

Genevieve Valentine. WSFA, $25 (128p) ISBN 978-1-936896-06-6

Valentine, a 2012 Crawford Award winner for Mechanique, spins an effectively brooding novella out of familiar hard SF elements. Amadis Reyes is one of five crewmembers on the cargo ship Menkalinan headed from Earth to the dwarf star Gliese; the job is the latest in a series with minimal human contact. Amadis and her colleagues are supposed to be asleep for much of the six-year journey, but for some reason she's awakened soon after blastoff to find herself the sole survivor of the crew. With only the ship's AI as company, and supplies that won't last her until Gliese, Amadis struggles to maintain some degree of physical and mental health, a challenge exacerbated by her suspicions that the four deaths were murders. Valentine neatly offers tantalizing dollops of backstory for the likable protagonist, accompanied by both noir-like prose and subtle construction of a dystopian future. Agent: Barry Goldbatt, BG Literary. (Oct.)