An Unkindness of Ghosts

An Unkindness of Ghosts

eBook - 2017
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"An Unkindness of Ghosts marks the debut of a wildly talented writer. Rivers Solomon has put together a heady science-fiction novel that speaks directly to some of the most pressing political and social concerns of the modern day. And yet for all that it remains deeply humane, and it's even quite funny at times. This is a book you'll want to read now so you can tell your friends you read it first." —Victor LaValle,, author of The Changeling"Welcome to the Tarlands aboard the space vessel HSS Matilda—home of the poor and rejected—and the setting of Rivers Solomon's powerful debut novel. Imaginative in the vein of Colson Whitehead, Samuel R. Delany, and Octavia E. Butler, this novel explores the struggles of slum dwellers aboard a spacecraft sadly reminiscent of our own world: rife with poverty, caste, and discrimination as told through the Looking Glass. With outstanding world-building and an unforgettable protagonist in Aster, An Unkindness of Ghosts is a notable debut by an author whose work I look forward to reading for years to come."—Tananarive Due, author of The Living Blood and Ghost SummerOdd-mannered, obsessive, withdrawn, Aster has little to offer folks in the way of rebuttal when they call her ogre and freak. She's used to the names; she only wishes there was more truth to them. If she were truly a monster, as they accuse, she'd 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 ship's 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 Matilda's sovereign reveals a surprising link between his death and her mother's suicide some quarter-century before, Aster retraces her mother's footsteps. Embroiled in a grudge with a brutal overseer and sewing the seeds of civil war, Aster learns there may be a way off the ship if she's willing to fight for it.An Unkindness of Ghosts will appeal to a broad audience, including fans of books such as The Magicians by Lev Grossman, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Cold Magic by Kate Elliott, The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead, and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.
Publisher: LaVergne : Akashic Books, 2017
ISBN: 9781617755996
Branch Call Number: EBOOK OVERDRIVE
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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r
ryner
Jun 25, 2019

The colossal spaceship Matilda is hurtling through space, though no one is navigating any longer. Its dozens of decks have housed its inhabitants, and Baby Sun has provided energy for sustenance, for one thousand years. Denizens of the lower decks are virtual prisoners and slaves, so that citizens of the upper echelons may live in relative luxury. Aster, a lay-chemist and -healer, lives on Q deck, and in her scant spare time pores over the journals left by her mother before she disappeared mysteriously twenty-five years ago.

This is less a story "about space" than a novel about secrets, relationships and politics that just happens to take place aboard a spaceship. I really liked it, especially the character of Aster. Recommended.

A diverse, thought-provoking Sci-Fi about the distant future of mankind, trapped on a giant spaceship for generations and perpetuating much the same follies as we have thus far in our history. It manages simultaneously to be original and unpredictable, with a dark and brooding tone.
~Alexa

One of the most inventive, unique and brilliant debuts I've read. Rivers places the reader within a post-apocalyptic society resembling the antebellum South, but all contained on the Matilda, a ship hurtling through space to a promised land. Gender norms and genetics, plant life and science have evolved on the Matilda, but racism a religious fervor remain. Aster, a brilliant scientist and slave, and the Surgeon Theo risk it all to bring the oppressive regime down. Solomon Rivers is an incredibly gifted writer and I am hoping for a sequel because I don't think this story is over.

KatieD_KCMO Nov 03, 2018

One of the most inventive, unique and brilliant debuts I've read. Rivers places the reader within a post-apocalyptic society resembling the antebellum South, but all contained on the Matilda, a ship hurtling through space to a promised land. Gender norms and genetics, plant life and science have evolved on the Matilda, but racism a religious fervor remain. Aster, a brilliant scientist and slave, and the Surgeon Theo risk it all to bring the oppressive regime down. Solomon Rivers is an incredibly gifted writer and I am hoping for a sequel because I don't think this story is over.

r
rixonkj
Mar 20, 2018

This book reminded me a LOT of Octavia E. Butler. This is maybe an inevitable comparison for any black woman writer of speculative fiction, but there really is a kinship between this book and Butler's work, especially Wild Seed--in the relationships people have with science, with gender, and especially with power.

It's not a happy book. It wasn't always easy for me to read--there's a lot of violence, from rape committed by law enforcement figures to amputations performed by the protagonist. But there isn't much gore, and like Butler, Solomon explores the worst humans do to each other in order to find a way to a world where we can do better.

k
KatG1983
Feb 18, 2018

The author is clearly a brilliant and sophisticated writer - the book is rich and layered, but, that being said, I had a difficult time immersing into the story. It just wasn't the kind of book that I could devour in a sitting or two. But, while I'd classify it as a more difficult read for me, it was definitely worth the extra effort and time. There are several passages of such beautiful writing that I actually took the time to write down a quotation of two...

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