They said the war would turn us into light.
–Kameron Hurley - The Light brigade - c.2019
In the future countries and states have been replaced by corporations. Capitalism has reached its full potential, or its full horror. The poor and desperate try to earn residency and eventually maybe become a full citizen. One way to earn that is to join up, fight the Martian colonists, defend earth and your way of life.
With effort comes reward.
I’ve been a fan of Hurley’s writing since I first read God’s War, and I think she’s has only become a better writer with every new book that comes out. This is possibly one of her most accessible books; it isn’t bug powered, or body horror, it is almost straight up militaristic science fiction, with hints of time travel.
Its an Orwellian future, with a twist of Starship Troopers, mixed with a side of “what the hell is going on in the world today”.
Sounds pretty good if you ask me.
It is also pretty bleak, which makes sense considering it is set in a war, from the point of view of the grunts on the ground, and set in a time where there are no such things as human rights. And also millions of people just got “blinked” out of existence. A place where the corporation secret police might come and take you away for saying the wrong thing, or maybe you’ll get disappeared because you happened to see the wrong thing. There isn’t a log of joy in these characters lives is what I’m trying to say. Also, I’m a reader who usually loved the character interactions, that’s why books like Chambers hit me right in the feels, and this doesn’t really have that. Dietz, our protagonist, hops about in time (sortof), so she’s as confused by the people around her as they are by the changes in her. So although she does have relationships with them they aren’t whats driving this story. And yet, despite that or maybe because of that I really enjoyed this. And although I’ve just mentioned how depressing the setting is I never felt overpowered by the darkness in the story. Hurley managed to keep Dietz cynical and yet strangely hopeful in a weird way that I can’t quite put my finger on. She was doomed and yet kept on keeping on.
So yeah, all in all this is a damn good story, I’d recommend it, and I think it’ll certainly be a reread for me.