Mary & Joe are about to embark on their adult lives. They’ve just finished their General Studies and it’s now time for them to pick a Project to work on. Mary would like to work on the NutriSuit Project. However, Joe has been following a story in the news and he really wants to join a journalism team reporting on the issue.
Set a few generations from now, this novella tells a fun tale while also providing a subtle commentary on current day society. At least, that is what I got out of it. Joe has been following the story of the L5Pilgrim space colony society. They wish to break away from the International Space Station (ISS) and go weightless. Of course, this not only affects the current inhabitants of the colony, but will affect future generations. Some of the opposition point out that such colonists would not be able to return to Earth, essentially creating a subspecies of humans. Major detractors believe it isn’t right for them to make such a choice for their future offspring.
If the basic story isn’t enough for you, this tale is full of future tech that made the story fascinating. Much of it is seamlessly put into play without distracting from the story. The NutriSuit would allow a person to absorb all the nutrients they need while sleeping. Housing and robots and travel have all improved in the future. You can modify any room with a few button pushes – sound, color, furniture.
Then there are the societal changes. Every human is guaranteed basic housing and a small stipend each month. However, if a person volunteers for a Project, then they are paid for their efforts on top of the stipend, allowing the person to purchase luxuries. Of course I love this idea, even if I think we will never achieve it globally. Then there is sex. Mary and Joe aren’t married, just barely into adulthood, and yet it is clear they have been enjoying each other’s attentions for some time. I think this is fine (perhaps even preferred). Joe’s parents don’t even mind having Mary stay over. Both of these youngsters work hard and are worthy citizens AND they have sex. Good for them! It wasn’t taboo and I found this very refreshing.
My one little criticism about the story is that I found the underlying tale a little predictable. I won’t go into details as that would spoil the ending. However, with all the other goodness going on in this novel, I can overlook the mild predictability. Also, the cover art and title initially made me think this book was on spiritual guidance or world prayer or some such. I wold not have guessed it was a science fiction story from the tile and cover.
The Narration: Simon Vance has been a favorite narrator for some time. His performance here was great, as usual. He had a variety of voices for men and women and imbued the text with emotion where needed.