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On a Red Station, Drifting: Nebula And Hugo Finalist

On a Red Station, Drifting: Nebula And Hugo Finalist

Written by Aliette de Bodard

Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller


On a Red Station, Drifting: Nebula And Hugo Finalist

Written by Aliette de Bodard

Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller

ratings:
4/5 (21 ratings)
Length:
5 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Apr 9, 2019
ISBN:
9781977331724
Format:
Audiobook

Description

For generations Prosper Station has thrived under the guidance of its Honoured Ancestress: born of a human womb, the station's artificial intelligence has offered guidance and protection to its human relatives.

But war has come to the Dai Viet Empire. Prosper's brightest minds have been called away to defend the emperor; and a flood of disorientated refugees strain the station's resources. As deprivations cause the station's ordinary life to unravel, uncovering old grudges and tearing apart the decimated family, Station Mistress Quyen and the Honoured Ancestress struggle to keep their relatives united and safe. What Quyen does not know is that the Honoured Ancestress herself is faltering, her mind eaten away by a disease that seems to have no cure; and that the future of the station itself might hang in the balance . . .

Publisher:
Released:
Apr 9, 2019
ISBN:
9781977331724
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Engineer by day, writer by night. Winner of two Nebula Awards, a Locus Award and a British Science Fiction Association Award. Writer of Science Fiction, Fantasy and other less clearly defined stuff. Author of The House of Shattered Wings (out now from Gollancz, Roc), a dark fantasy set in a Paris devastated by a magical apocalypse, where Fallen angels mingle with alchemists, witches and Vietnamese ex-Immortals. Also author of the Xuya universe series, an alternate history future with a dominant Vietnamese galactic empire and biological artificial intelligences housed in spaceships.


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Reviews

What people think about On a Red Station, Drifting

3.8
21 ratings / 10 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    This was entertaining: a power struggle in a Chinese/Vietnamese-style clan, but set on a creaking space station. Lady Linh, former High Magistrate now reduced to the status of penniless war refugee, seeks sanctuary with distant relatives on Prosper Station. Said relatives are in charge of running the station under leadership of lady Quyen, who is capable but has never had the chance to realise her extra-familial potential. Linh and Quyen have, of course, very different ideas of how to run things. Simple, but ably written. Neat!
  • (4/5)
    What struck me most about this book is the way it deals with family. Even as we dream of new and complicated technology and skyscapes, this novella shows that our struggles, how we relate to our kin, how we handle hard and moral choices--that will be what continues to define us. The world is painted beautiful, hard, just complex enough that the struggles are still real even as the environment is different. Linh (and all the characters, really) are relatable, complex, flawed while seeking change against a backdrop of war and violence. An imagined future that reminds me of what we fight for in the present.
  • (4/5)
    On a Red Station, Drifting is an excellent little science fiction novella.In the far future, a galactic empire is crumbling and Linh is a refugee, fleeing to Prosper Station, run by Mistress Quyen. The two women are very different, and it was interesting to read their opinions of each other. Both accuse each other of arrogance, but I think Linh probably most deserves that criticism. She had a high ranking before the war came to her planet, and she seems to expect Quyen (whom she scorns for her lesser education) to immediately give her a position of power.Both Linh and Quyen were strongly characterized. If the supporting cast wasn’t as well done, I think it’s largely because there simply isn’t space in this roughly 100 page novella.Prosper Station has other problems besides the war. The whole station is run and watched over by the Honored Ancestress, an AI. However, she’s been having gaps in function, which puts the entire station at risk. The Honored Ancestress also brings up the issue of privacy versus security as Linh chafes under her gaze and Quyen takes comfort from it.The world building was also well crafted. The galactic empire grew out of Vietnamese culture, which is strongly present. However there’s also new ideas unique to the future and settlements such as Prosper.I’d recommend On a Red Station, Drifting to anyone looking for good female characters and a subtle but powerful science fiction novella.Originally on The Illustrated Page.
  • (3/5)
    This novella is about family. Ancestors, cousins, duty, honor, rivalry. It takes place in de Bodard's Xuya world, on a station controlled by a mind. The mind of an Ancestor. And nearly every person on that station is related. So when a distant relation comes seeking shelter, it's provided. But that one new person disturbs the (not so) peaceful hierarchy of the station.
  • (4/5)
    Ancient Vietnam in space makes for a curious combination and I liked it a lot, although I'm equally sure quite a lot went over my head. Two stubborn and unlikeable women (I kept nearly sympathizing with Quyen, then she'd do or think something horrid again) are forced to confront their issues and insecurities - rather than each other - as the AI controlling Prosper Station begins to fail. The cleverness is in keeping this a claustrophobic family drama, and the little cultural details.
  • (5/5)
    As expected of Aliette de Bodard, a truly inspired science-fiction novella discussing how society and family ties can both generate conflict, prevent understanding but also help one to find purpose in some instances. I highly recommend it.
  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    This novella is really the epitome of solid, unique science fiction. Many works set in space draw on alien cultures; here, de Bodard utilizes a background unfamiliar to many readers--Vietnamese culture. It's an intrinsic part of the book, dictating dialogue, eye contact, and the ties and obligations to your own bloodline. To make it even more complex, the science fiction element features the preserved memories of ancestors that can exist on a personal level and whisper advice or fine poetry directly into the brain, as well as the omnipresent voice and knowledge of the Honoured Ancestress who connects with everyone and governs a vast space station.Even typing that up in summary leaves me shaping my head in awe. It's a fabulous concept. In the hands of a lesser author, it'd be an incomprehensible mess. Here, it's a thing of beauty--something fascinating, even educational, to a reader like me.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    I thought this was actually quite impressive. It's only a 100 pages, but there is quite some world-building and character development in this story, and on top of that some really good characters, and two of them are female. Another is an AI. All of them are impressive. The two female characters unfortunately do not like each other, but their dislike is described realistically without hitting the reader over the head with it. Both of their POVs are understandable. I thought the ending was also well done, not an 'all is well that ends well', but something realistic. In a way, I think it is a pity that this is only 100 pages. I think there was enough there to make it a full book, which could have made it more immersive.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (3/5)
    I read this novella as part of the Hugo voting packet and after reading this and her short story that was also in the packet I will have to keep an eye out for more of her stuff.

    The story setting is in the far future that has a heavy Asian influence on the multi system government and social order. Linh comes seeking refuge at Prosper Station calling on family ties but not being truthful about why she is there. Prosper station is on a slow downward slide with the AI faltering and the best and the brightest gone to fight the war. Everything comes to light when the descendant of the station designer stops by the station. After reading this I want to see more of the universe. The idea of ancestor worship using technology to allow descendants to speak to those long gone for advice is very neat.
  • (3/5)
    It was ok but I found myself getting a bit tired of all the "Honourable Ancestor" and hierarchical obsequiousness malarkey.