December 11, 2017

Review: Earth Girl by Janet Edwards.

Out in March!

You can’t go home again as the old cliché says, but what if you were trapped there permanently? We’re uniquely adapted for life on our tiny blue-green planet, but one often wonders if our space-faring descendants might see it as otherwise. Would a living on the Earth be seen as a blessing or a curse?

That’s just the theme this week’s review covers. Earth Girl by Janet Edwards out next month from Pyr Books looks at life on Earth in 2788 A.D. through the eyes of a young girl named Jarra.  Jarra is a rare genetic throwback, an “ape-girl” who can only exist on ancestral Earth. Earth has been set up as a hospital for such afflicted souls, as well as a museum to protect and enshrine Earth and human history. Humanity of the 28th century has taken to the stars, and travel is done via teleportation (known as “portaling”) from one habitable system to another. Earth was emptied out centuries before and students of history often study on ancient Earth in search of “status boxes” left by the inhabitants of Earth prior to departure centuries earlier.

Jarra hides her identity in order to gain acceptance with a visiting class. Earth Girl tackles the issues of alienation and prejudice in a way that only good science fiction can. It’s always intriguing to note that despite an era’s perceived enlightenment, humanity always slips back into its old ways. Orphaned by her parents, Jarra later learns the truth about why she was abandoned and how she came to Earth.

There’s also some fascinating science and astronomy afoot in this novel as well. We thought it interesting that many of the colonized worlds were found to be more suitable for humans than the Earth. It’s noted that under the protocols of the Earth Girl universe, our own planet would’ve been rejected! This is mostly due to solar flares, which wreak havoc with the portaling technology. A major Carrington class event occurs at the climax of the book when Jarra and her classmates are forced to truly show what they’re made of. A solar flare of the magnitude that was witnessed by Sir Richard Carrington in 1859 would wreak havoc on any technological society, including our own. In fact, the only satellites remaining in Jarra’s era are power-generating solar arrays and those tasked with monitoring our tempestuous star, much like our current SOHO and Solar Dynamics Observatory satellites.

But it’s the human story of Jarra and how she hopes to beat circumstance that captivates the reader. We’ve all been there; we’ve all wanted to say screw fate and our station in life and set things to rights. This kind of abandon in the face of entropy and an often uncaring cosmos is what makes us human. Will we get to visit Jarra and her friends and the world of Earth Girl in a sequel? Do be sure to search this one out… it’s the best science fiction read that we’ve had thus far in 2013!

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  1. [...] though this one, and I can’t remember enjoying a science fiction novel as much since maybe Earth Girl, The Quiet War or maybe even The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled [...]

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