cover image Antimatter Blues

Antimatter Blues

Edward Ashton. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-27505-9

In the 1,000 years since humanity dispersed into Ashton’s vibrant vision of far-future space, none of the limited contact between humans and aliens has ended well, but now retired expendable Mickey must cozy up to the Nifleim colony’s native “creepers” to retrieve an antimatter bomb that was lost in the previous novel, Mickey7. As an Expendable, Mickey’s died and come back six times already, but now he feels his life is precious. He’s got Nasha, a feisty recon pilot, to snuggle with; a job cleaning the hungry colony’s rabbit hutches; and a daredevil friend, Berto, he doesn’t want to lose. Still, when duty calls via vengeful colony commander Marshall, he’s off on a series of free-wheeling adventures among two sets of warring creepers to get that bomb back. If he fails, there’ll be no coming back this time. Ashton’s breezy characters, especially a few alien creepers able to communicate with the humans, delight, and the grungy details of colony life are rendered as realistically as Mickey’s hunger pangs. It’s good fun with a surprisingly effective closing twist that sci-fi fans will savor. (Mar.)