In the Black

Patrick S. Tomlinson. Tor, $19.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-30275-5
Tomlinson (Starship Repo) offers space opera fans much to chew on in this fun, fast-moving series debut, set almost 70 years after a conflict between humanity and the Xre, an intelligent alien species that resembles “the offspring of an ill-conceived union of a wasp and an Alaskan king crab.” Capt. Susan Kamala and the crew of the Ansari are sent to patrol the boundary between human and Xre territory. After two of the ship’s reconnaissance drones are knocked out of action within less than a month of each other, she and her crew suspect the aliens may be responsible—and their investigation leads to an encounter with the Xre that could be momentous for interspecies relationships. Meanwhile, Tyson Abington, the ultrawealthy head of Ageless Corp., finds his business under threat of both a corporate espionage scheme and a disease outbreak that may be the result of a bioweapon. Tomlinson skillfully toggles between story lines, giving impressive weight to both. The plot is more streamlined than genre fans might expect, but Tomlinson still provides enough worldbuilding to support multiple sequels. Readers are sure to be entertained. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 07/06/2020
Release date: 10/13/2020
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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