In a sense, my smart phone has become my new laptop. When I get home from work, it’s become too easy to pick up my phone instead of a book – too easy to check up on Facebook, or play a game, instead of read a few more pages.
But yes, I am still reading – not at the pace I was reading during the Reading Challenge, but I am reading.
I’m about halfway through the 574-page novel The Light Side of The Moon, by Elizabeth Guizzetti. It’s the follow up to Other Systems, which I reviewed here.
I am enjoying this book a lot.
The Light Side of The Moon starts off on Earth, in 3062. The ships from Kipos have departed, bringing 750,000 young people with them to replenish the Kiposi DNA. Earth is still a mess, overrun with poverty, disease, and homelessness.
Ella Sethdottier is a 12-year-old girl, living in Seattle. Her father is not around much, and her mother is sick. For economic and religious reasons, her brothers have sold Ella into a contracted marriage with a man in his 50s.
Meanwhile, in Paris, a wealthy family is making plans to reopen a former prison colony on the moon, using one of the space elevators the Kiposi built and left behind.
Ella runs away from home, hoping to acquire a job in the new lunar colony. She catches rides with truck drivers across the American continent, where she constantly faces the possibility of rape, or kidnapping into sex slavery, in less populated, lawless areas. With her sharp instincts and her strong religious upbringing, she hopes to make it to the east coast, where, if she can successfully lie about her age, she can find work aboard a ship to Europe.
Like the author told me, when I met her at NorWesCon, this is “gritty science fiction”.
Ella Sethdottier is the main character of this novel, but it also contains many other well-written characters as well. The most fascinating characters, so far, half-way into the book, are a group of damaged androids living in an abandoned building in Paris. They are the machine equivalent of the human homeless – but receiving even less compassion from society. (It’s more acceptable to kill a damaged android than it is to kill a homeless person.)
These androids are genderless. Although they refer to each other as “brother” or “sister”, they are prefer humans to use genderless pronouns, such as “hir” or “sie”, when referring to them. (It took me a while to realize those pronouns were not typos.) The exception to the pronoun rule comes when a dying android transfers its working parts to another android – then the preference is for “they” or “them”.
The Light Side of The Moon, so far, is not light reading. It is not a cheery story. It is well-written, believable, and full of fascinating details (like the pronouns). I am anxious to find out how it turns out, and to learn if there’s a third book in the works.