The Space Between the Stars

In Anne Corlett's debut novel, The Space Between the Stars, Jamie Allenby feels lost in the universe. A swift-acting virus has wiped out most humans on Earth and its colonized planets. "Zero point zero zero zero one." She repeats this number like a mantra. Zero point zero zero zero one percent might have survived.

Months earlier, Earth-born Jamie had migrated to Soltaire for a job as a veterinarian. She was mourning a miscarriage and seeking solitude, leaving Daniel, her partner, on the planet Alegria. She knew he had been headed for Earth before the virus struck. Had he survived? They used to joke that in case of a zombie apocalypse, they'd meet on a certain beach in Northumberland. Now all she has is despair mixed with faint hope, and two other people--Lowry, a clergyman, and Rena, a research scientist. They've sent up a distress signal.

Anne Corlett has taken the themes of apocalypse, people attempting to create Utopia but unleashing Armageddon, population engineering and breeding programs, and put her particular stamp on the familiar. The Space Between the Stars is a sci-fi story laced with homey details like e-readers and jigsaw puzzles--there are no esoteric descriptions of warp drives or biodomes or aliens. But there is adventure, there is romance, there is self-discovery. Jamie looks at a blue sky, which "felt like a lie, after so much time spent up above it, in the black of space." But she finds, in this intriguing and wise story, what can fill the space between the stars. --Marilyn Dahl, editor emerita, Shelf Awareness

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