New Treasures: Under Fortunate Stars by Ren Hutchings

New Treasures: Under Fortunate Stars by Ren Hutchings

Under Fortunate Stars (Solaris, May 9, 2023). Cover design by Dominc Forbes

According to the Solaris website, Under Fortunate Stars was published in the US nearly a year ago. But I just found it at my local Barnes & Noble, so it’s new to me. Let’s fire up the New Treasures floodlights and have a look at this thing.

First off, it’s a first novel, and that’s a plus in my book. New writers are the lifeblood of science fiction. And also, if I find the good ones before my friends, I get good street cred. And street cred is tough to come by in your late 50s, believe me.

It’s also space opera. We like space opera. Especially when it’s been well reviewed, like this one has. Gizmodo saysUnder Fortunate Stars is a time-twisting homage to classic space opera and science fiction, taking well-beloved tropes and twisting them on their head. It’s a paradoxical puzzle-box of a novel,” and SF Book Review calls it, “One of the most entertaining time travel space adventures that you will ever read today, tomorrow — or even yesterday.”

Ren Hutchings

I don’t know much about Ren Hutchings. Her website tells us,

Ren spent most of the past few years working in game dev while plotting twisty space books… Ren previously worked as a creative producer and managed communications for a non-profit arts council. She graduated with a BA in History before completing a year of grad school in archaeology.

But it doesn’t tell us where she lives, and if she uses weird British words like “colour” and “vapour” in her novels, which is kinda crucial information if you ask me. But we soldier on.

There’s heaps of praise for this book out there, but my favorite one-paragraph review is from Publishers Weekly. Here’s the relevant bits.

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… 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.

Under Fortunate Stars was published by Solaris on May 9, 2023. It is 478 pages, priced at $16.99 in trade paperback and $8.99 in digital formats. The cover was designed by Dominic Forbes.

Read a free excerpt from the novel at Gizmodo.

See all our recent New Treasures here.

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[…] John O’Neil of Black Gate offers up this review of a debut space opera Under Fortunate Stars […]

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