cover image Generation Ship

Generation Ship

Michael Mammay. Harper Voyager, $19.99 trade paper (606p) ISBN 978-0-06-325298-1

It takes a village to colonize a planet and the villagers are getting restless in this impressive hard SF epic from Mammay (The Misfit Soldier). After a journey of more than 250 years, the colony ship Voyager is finally approaching its target, the planet Promissa. Advance probes mysteriously fail shortly after reaching the planet, leaving the ship’s chief scientists concerned. They recommend delaying colonization up to 20 years, but the governor, knowing his people are growing antsy, wants to land in force. He reasons that he can make the landing “too big to fail,” compelling the crew to commit to the colony’s success. As political divides over this issue deepen aboard Voyager, no one considers that the planet’s inhabitants and even the ship itself have opinions of their own. Mammay dives deep into specifics about labor, negotiation, and conflict aboard a generation ship, crafting a realistic society populated by farmers forced to become party leaders and cops chasing (or more frequently working with) black market operators. The climax leans a bit on a deus ex machina, but the resolution ultimately rings true, with a variety of winners and losers built neatly off the preceding action. Equally entertaining and intelligent, this nuanced tale is sure to please sci-fi fans. Agent: Lisa Rodgers, JABberwocky. (Oct.)