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REVIEW: Of a Strange World Made – Anthony W. Eichenlaub

Of a Strange World Made - Anthony W. Eichenlaub

Genre: Sci-Fi, Colonization

Reviewer: Scott

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About The Book

On the cutting edge of humanity, rules are made for one thing.

No, it is not “to be broken.”

Biologist Ash Morgan loves breaking rules, but this is ridiculous. Edge is humanity’s bastion on the frontier of space and science. She plays fast and loose with the Edge’s ultra-strict governing AI, but even she’s willing to admit that maybe there are some laws not meant to be broken.

When a fellow colonist asks for help delivering a child, Ash agrees against her better judgment.

But something’s not right.

The birth will exceed the precise population cap set by the colony AI. Somehow those numbers need to balance.

And the child is born strange. Too strange. What experiments could produce a child like this?

Who would do this?

When the mother descends into depression and madness, Ash must decide which rules can be broken, which rules must be obeyed, and which rules will inevitably lead to the colony’s ultimate destruction.

On the cutting edge of humanity, rules are made for one thing: to be followed perfectly with zero deviation.


The Review

When I started reading “Of a Strange World Made,” I really didn’t like Ash.

The protagonist of this colonization tale comes off as shallow and aware of herown beauty, one of those girls I hated in High School. It also took a bit to figure out what was going on.

But then things took a turn, and I was hooked.

The story takes place in a colony on the planet Sky. An AI called Traverse runs things, including keeping population growth under control. There are hints that all is not well in this new world, but at the outset it seems like a normal human society. People go to bars and play games and make bets, and then they go to work running the colony’s day-to-day operations.

Then we meet Marta, a woman who has apparently secretly become pregnant, and the story really gets going as Ash has to decide how deeply to get involved with the woman’s illegal act.

I don’t want to give too much away. Suffice it to say that the plot really revved up and took me in a direction I wasn’t expecting. There are battles on rooftops and surprising revelations, and a theme of acceptance of difference that was very appealing.

I was a little thrown by references to Earth culture, so many generations removed from the actual planet. But I loved the story-within-a-story idea, and the big revelation you probably won’t see coming.

“Of a Strange World Made” reminded me a bit of SI Clark’s “Devon Island” with a bit of Asimov’s “Nightfall” thrown in for good measure – a heady mix indeed. I also loved the alien-world vibe that Eichenlaub got just right.

Give it a try – you won’t be disappointed.

The Reviewer

Scott is the founder of Liminal Fiction, and a fantasy and sci fi writer in his own right, with more than 30 published short stories, novellas and novels to his credit, including two trilogies.

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