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An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon

Odd-mannered, obsessive, withdrawn, Aster has little to offer folks in the way of rebuttal when they call her ogre and freak. Shes used to the names; she only wishes there was more truth to them. If she were truly a monster, as they accuse, shed be powerful enough to tear down the walls around her until nothing remained of her world, save for stories told around the cookfire.

Aster lives in the low-deck slums of the HSS Matilda, a space vessel organized much like the antebellum South. For generations, the Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land. On its way, the ships leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster, who they consider to be less than human.

When the autopsy of Matildas sovereign reveals a surprising link between his death and her mothers suicide some quarter-century before, Aster retraces her mothers footsteps. Embroiled in a grudge with a brutal overseer and sowing the seeds of civil war, Aster learns there may be a way off the ship if shes willing to fight for it.
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Published 19.12.2018

An Unkindness Of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon - Book Recap

An Unkindness of Ghosts

By: Rivers Solomon. Finalist for the Locus Award , John W. I want to say about this book, its only imperfection is that it ended. But that might give the wrong impression: that it is a happy book, a book that makes a body feel good. It is not a happy book.

History wanted to be remembered. Evidence hated having to live in dark, hidden places and devoted itself to resurfacing. Truth was messy. The natural order of an entropic universe was to tend toward it. Aster has little to offer folks in the way of rebuttal when they call her ogre and freak. I first heard about An Unkindness of Ghosts on Twitter. Someone had posted about the social impact of this book and I was intrigued.

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In their debut novel, An Unkindness of Ghosts , Rivers Solomon tackles the classic sci-fi theme of the generation ship. Aster lives on Matilda , a ship that has been roaming the stars for centuries, searching for a habitable planet. However, she educated herself and is now assistant to the Surgeon General. The first very striking aspect of An Unkindness of Ghosts is the variety of marginalized characters, often relegated to the background of sci-fi but who are here main, front and center. Her friend Giselle suffers from PTSD and has mental health issues; the Surgeon is a mixed race character, also queer; finally, most of the lower decks characters are persons of color. The high deckers are white and treat the low deckers with contempt and fear, brutalizing them while they live in opulence.

That quote from chapter 14 is so important. Finn Finn Gardner wrote about an intelligence promoter who does not seem to value decency as a personal value [as opposed to a social one]. I love Aster's approach to consent - I hope it is in more sci-fi. Often sci-fi reminds us we are human. Adelaide, I went back and added a link so you can find the book. It is a very important quote from chapter 14 and I also love Aster's approach to consent, too! Tonia, a lot of my own early reading was sci-fi and sci-fact like things which came from Beyond [a science show] and Hot Chips.

4 thoughts on “An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon

  1. An Unkindness of Ghosts is a science fiction novel by Rivers Solomon, exploring the conjunction between structural racism and generation ships.

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