Friday, 20 May 2016

The Loneliness of Distant Beings by Kate Ling

The Loneliness of Distant Beings'It is that quick, it is that strong, it is that beautiful. And it is also totally impossible.'

Even though she knows it's impossible, Seren longs to have the sunshine on her skin. It's something she feels she needs to stay sane. But when you're floating through space at thousands of kilometres an hour, sometimes you have to accept there are things you cannot change.

Except that the arrival of Dom in her life changes everything in ways she can barely comprehend. For a while he becomes the Sun for her; and she can't help but stay in his orbit. Being with him flaunts every rule designed to keep their home in order, but to lose him would be like losing herself.

In the end they must decide what is most important: loyalty to the only home they've ever known, or to each other?

As soon as I heard about this, I was drawn to a story in space, the literal lack of space on the ship, the bleakness of existence and the existential troubles that would bring. Set 84 years into a 200-odd year mission into space, Seren is fed up with her life and all the rules that it would follow, from where she works to who she marries. As a character, Seren was fascinating; sarcastic, blunt, depressed, a very good teenage voice as she struggles with the expectations of life on the ship and the overwhelming desire for something more. And then she meets Dom.

Seren and Dom had that kind of dangerous, all-consuming relationship but as much as you root for them, you know it's going to end badly. There was a bit of insta-love but for once, it didn't annoy me. Thinking back on it, it was all very melodramatic but at the time, I was so swept up in the restrictions of real life on the ship, I could very much understand Seren falling head over heels with something forbidden. However, there really wasn't much to their relationship other than physical attraction; yeah, they talked but there were a few secrets that almost ruined things for them and I couldn't help but think that their relationship should be stronger than that.

What I did really enjoy was the dynamic of the ship, how it had evolved into this military dictatorship and everything was about preserving the mission. It reminded me of this mini-series I watched on TV a while back but it was very clever and really highlighted the inevitable nature of life, as depressive as that sounds. All in all, a good addition to sci-fi but maybe the build-up of romance was lacking.

Published 19th May 2016 by Little Brown Books.

1 comment:

  1. I loved the set up and the themes in this book, but I just couldn't get behind the instalove. I just kept rolling my eyes!