Author: Ann Aguirre
Genre: space opera with some romance
Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Ace (February 26, 2008)
MY RATING: 4.0 stars
I love space opera. Humans blasting into far-flung star systems, big damned heroes, and a big, heroic story to boot. (Still waiting for an actual opera set in space, but oh well.)
So I picked up Grimspace. And I was not disappointed. The story is laid out pretty quickly, at least what the protagonist, career jumper Sirantha Jax, knows of it. She’s in a maximum security medical facility recovering from an interstellar disaster that she’s being blamed for. Easy as she was the lone survivor. Jumpers are people born with a special gene that allows them to enter ‘grimspace’–a sort of cyberspace that lets them navigate across great expanses of space. They link closely, psychologically and frequently sexually with the pilots that they ‘jack in’ with.
The science isn’t really delved into too much, but that didn’t detract from the story for me. Jax isn’t all that clear on it herself.
The corporation that owns the monopoly over shipping in this region of space is holding her, apparently to make her quietly disappear. And then March appears in her prison cell, making an offer she can’t refuse.
He represents certain interests that are opposing the spacing corporation, and they need a jumper. Jax is special because she’s survived into early middle age without burning out–once a jumper has jumped a certain number of times they just sort of fizzle out and die. Or so everyone believes. Jax is not always the most reliable narrator, but she’s the only one we’ve got–the author did great work with her unreliable narrator.
And so Jax, March, and crew bound from system to system figuring out the truth and avoiding the corp’s security forces and mercenaries. There are some great action sequences and a developing romance between Jax and March that made me anxious to carry on the series. But that’s enough plot detail. I’ve told you enough. Get out there and read this book.
I don’t really see any big problems with Grimspace. It fits nicely into the space opera/space western genre–so if you liked, oh, say, Firefly and/or Cowboy Bebop this is a book you’ll want to check out. And there’s five more where that came from. The big pieces in the plot are nothing groundbreaking–plucky crew with the odds so not in their favor, outspoken and crotchety captain, evil corporation monopolizing all the things, morally ambiguous bounty hunter–but Aguirre does a great job putting them all into play.
Up next: Book 2 in the series, Wanderlust.