Kathleen Ann Goonan. The Tale of the Alcubierre Horse. (Extrasolar ed Nick Gevers, PS Publishing 2017)

Read in : The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume Three. (ed Neil Clarke, Nightshade Books 2018)

A long and complex read. Set on Moku, an Entertainment, Amusement and R&D Exoplanetary Exploration Ship in orbit around the Earth. It’s intended to be humanity’s first attempt at colonising an exoplanet, but politics, and the absence of a suitable drive has rather delayed that mission. The main protagonist is Pele, over one hundred years old, a scientist slightly on the autistic spectrum. She raised concerns about an influx of autistic children onto the ship, and indeed is quickly proven correct as SPOILER ALERT they work together collectively and brilliantly and suddenly the exoplanet mission is triggered. Not everything goes to plan, and in order to reach the destination, a very major decision has to be made…

The story moves through the gears smoothly, starting as a traditional ship politics story and ramping us the tension and the scale and scope of the story nicely.

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