An Unkindness of Ghosts

Rivers Solomon is a bold new voice in speculative fiction. This startling debut delves into issues of class, race and gender on a futuristic spaceship whose society mimics the antebellum American South.

Born on the generation starship HSS Matilda, dark-skinned Aster and her fellow low-deckers labor in the Field Decks that rotate around Baby Sun, a fusion reactor that nourishes the ship's crops. The light-skinned ruling class that inhabits the upper decks controls their work, reproduction and living conditions, treating them as a subhuman species that exists to serve on their way to a storied Promised Land. Brilliant, angry Aster works as a healer, with tutelage from her upper deck friend Theo the Surgeon, and commits the odd act of sabotage on the side. Considered a freak for her eccentricities and literal mind, Aster takes solace in her friendship with delusional, suicidal Giselle. When she notices similarities between the illness of the Sovereign who rules the vessel and the condition her mother suffered before her suicide years ago, Aster undertakes a dangerous investigation that will upset everything the people of Matilda believe.

Though shaped like the past transported into the future, Solomon's narrative seethes with underpinnings of the present carried to the extreme, a police state where women have lost reproductive rights and people of color face servitude and constant brutality. Complex and prophetic, An Unkindness of Ghosts will have readers cheering Aster as she fights for her freedom. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

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