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Space Opera for Today: The Axiom by Tim Pratt

Thursday, October 3rd, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

The-Wrong-Stars-Tim-Pratt-smaller The-Dreaming-Stars-smaller The Forbidden Stars-small

Tim Pratt’s Axiom series began with The Wrong Stars (2017). That was quickly followed by The Dreaming Stars (2018), and Angry Robot will release the highly anticipated third book, The Forbidden Stars, next week. The Axiom is one of the more successful modern space opera series; and I think Sam Reader at the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog nicely captured its appeal with his fine review of the opening volume.

The Wrong Stars... is a work every bit as vast as you expect from space operas, but with a character-focused touch that keeps the action feeling intimate.

On a routine mission, Captain Kalea “Callie” Machedo and the borderline-shady crew of the salvage vessel White Raven find a “Goldilocks ship” — an undisturbed generation ship from 500 years in Earth’s past. Looking for parts from this priceless relic of a bygone era to strip and sell for a profit, Callie stumbles upon two things: a perfectly preserved scientist still in suspended animation within a cryo-pod, and a strange wormhole-generating black box patched into the ship’s propulsion system. When the cryo-pod’s inhabitant, Doctor Elena Oh, wakes up, she warns the crew of immanent first contact with sapient life… only to be told that humanity actually made contact with a race of body-modifying octopus traders known as “Liars” three centuries earlier. But Elena’s descriptions don’t match that of the Liars, and when an indescrible something begins following the White Raven, leaving a trail of death and destruction in its wake — along with a single clue: the name “Axiom” — the crew realizes what Elena’s brought them might be something far older and and far more alien, something that has been waiting for the right time to wake up…

Through his wit, dialogue, and vast, varied cast, Tim Pratt has created a space opera for today — one filled with diverse characters and cultures that feel nuanced enough to be real — while still delivering the sense of wonder that made you love the genre in the first place.

Tim Pratt has been nominated for the Nebula, World Fantasy, Sturgeon, Stoker, and Mythopoeic Awards, and won the Hugo Award for his short story “Impossible Dreams.” His novels include The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl, and the Pathfinder Tales novels Liar’s Island and Liar’s BargainThe Forbidden Stars will be published by Angry Robot on October 8, 2019. It is 400 pages, priced at $8.99 in paperback and $7.99 in digital formats. See all our coverage of the best new SF and fantasy series here.

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