Sara Callicot is a waster – someone who spends her life flitting in and out of time for her work as an exoethnologist (an alien archaeologist). Sara’s new job is different than her usual pursuit – she is tasked with observing a crew member, Thora Lassiter, who is considered to be unstable. The crew’s mission is to investigate a new planet that is surrounded by dark matter. Sara can’t wait to get her feet on the ground in an undiscovered world but things soon go horribly wrong. Before they can make sense of the world, Thora vanishes and the entire expedition and crew is threatened by natural disasters on the planet. Sara must work fast to figure out a way to get off the planet before it’s too late for all of them.
Dark Orbit is a wonderfully rich sci-fi novel by author Carolyn Ives Gilman. The book starts out in more of a traditional sci-fi manner, in that it addresses space and time travel as well as scientific research. It eventually transforms into an exploration of a new culture and an exploration into the untapped possibilities of human ability. The characters in the book are well written across the board. Sara and Thora in particular make for great anchors. Sara is whip-smart and flexible with rules, while Thora is more rigid with regard to her scientific practice but is ultimately the most courageous character in the book. The supporting characters are equally fully fleshed out. The plot flows nicely throughout and really takes the reader on a journey with the characters themselves. Fans of science fiction will greatly enjoy Dark Orbit.
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