Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Mother Go, by James Patrick Kelly (author), January LaVoy (narrator)

Audible Studios, July 2017

Mariska Volochkova is the clone-daughter of Natalia Volochkova, famed deep space explorer. Like her clone-mother, she is genetically engineered for the ability to hibernate, born for interstellar exploration.

That's not what Mariska wants, in part because she resents the woman who created her and then took off through the wormhole to a distant galaxy. Mariska was left with contract father Sal, under a term adoption contract, and an artificial intelligence that is her room. More than anything she resents the idea that Natalia could return and, as her mother and legal guardian, take her off through the wormhole again, away from a life she enjoys, her friends, and the contract father she loves. Then Natalia does return, with news of a beautiful, habitable planet at the other end of the wormhole.

And Mariska is a year short of being of legal age and able to make her own decisions.

This is both a deeply personal story, of the complicated relationship between Mariska and Natalia, and a story of a daring plan to colonize a distant planet. Mariska is, at the outset, in many ways a self-absorbed child, but also smart, capable, and resourceful. Some of the choices she makes are dumb and impulsive when she makes them, but she learns and grows from each of them. Her determination to avoid her mother includes taking a job on a "mining bucket," a grungy but educational job. The plan to colonize that planet on the far side of the wormhole becomes the driving force of a political conflict, and Mariska's romance with a Martian draws her into it on a side she would never have predicted.

Family dynamics, adventure, crisis, and political conflict over the resources devoted to the starship and the colony it will carry all make for an exciting, absorbing story.

Recommended.

I bought this audiobook.