cover image Under Fortunate Stars

Under Fortunate Stars

Ren Hutchings. Solaris, $24.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-78618-592-1

Hutchings’s intricate, clever debut plays familiar science fiction tropes backwards and serves as a reminder never to meet one’s heroes. The alien Felen race waged war against humanity until five human Peacemakers overcame incredible odds to broker a peace with them. Now, 152 years later, the research vessel Gallion is on a routine mission carrying a Felen ambassador when an anomaly takes its engines and communication systems offline. The crew determine they’re stuck in a rift in space-time, with no power to escape. A broadband local distress call leads them to a second ship lodged in the rift. But this ship is impossible: it is the freighter Jonah, the very vessel that carried the Peacemakers. Aboard are several people who are definitely not the Peacemakers as they’ve been mythologized. It’s down to the crew of the Gallion to get them to be the right people, at the right place, at the right time—otherwise their peaceful future will be doomed before it can even begin. Tackling the way history sacrifices truth for hagiography, Hutchings lovingly fuses a sprawling cast of charmingly flawed characters and a plot with many moving parts into a smooth and satisfying whole. Sci-fi readers will be delighted. Agent: Bridget Smith, JABberwocky Literary. (May)