HelenEdith's Blog

The minutiae of my life, plus website updates and book reviews

Book Review: Elizabeth Moon – Remnant Population

Posted by HelenEdith on June 7, 2009

This was the only Elizabeth Moon novel that I hadn’t read, and was one that the borough library system only held one copy of. I requested it and dived in.

The story is about a failed colony on another world, and the decision of Ofelia to hide when the ships come to evacuate the colonists. She is old and probably wouldn’t survive a trip in the cryo tanks, and she likes it where she is, so she stays. She manages to turn the colony’s support systems back on, sheds most of her clothes, which she didn’t like anyway, and gets on with living a solitary life doing exactly what she pleases. (Along with maintaining those parts of the colony that she needs for her continued survival, of course.)

The early chapters of this book were rather pedestrian, but then Ofelia heard a conversation from a ship in orbit which is delivering new colonists to another part of the world. They land and are killed by an unknown race of aliens.

The aliens, while not as advanced as humans, are pretty intelligent, and they decide to investigate Ofelia’s colony, from which they remember the streaks across the sky when the shuttles transferred people in. So a party of young aliens set out on a mission to discover Ofelia’s colony.

Ofelia is first aware of them when a storm passes overhead and she rescues them and takes them indoors to shelter them. Despite their attack on the other colonists, they are not a warlike people, but the other colonists had turned their nest site into a landing strip, which was just about the worst thing that they could have done. Ofelia and the aliens form a relationship and some of the scouting party return to their northern lands and bring back some more senior members of their species.

Meanwhile, the humans off-planet, realising that aliens are present, have decided to come to make contact with them. They notice that Ofelia’s colony is up and running when it is supposed to be shut down; and they land to investigate. It is up to Ofelia to act as a go-between.

By the time I’d reached the end of this book, I’d forgiven it the slow start. I really enjoyed it!


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