Dream Houses

Dream HousesDream Houses by Genevieve Valentine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A haunting and harrowing exploration of loneliness, madness, family, and survival in deep space. Valentine excels at writing convincing characters — especially ones that are deeply scarred in some way — and then putting them in compelling, often intense situations. With Amadis Reyes she has created one of her best characters yet. Amadis is a loner, albeit a reluctant one; she’s tough, but more fragile on the inside than she thinks; she has an encyclopedic knowledge of classical music but has no idea how to talk to or behave around other people. Thanks to mysterious circumstances, she finds herself stuck alone on a deep space run with a dead crew and a ship’s AI she’s not sure she can trust. With five long years to get through before she’ll be close enough civilization to be rescued, the question becomes not only if she’ll survive, or how she’ll survive, but if she’ll be able to keep from going insane in the interim. ALIEN is a clear influence on this claustrophobic, spaceship-bound novella, although not in the ways such an analogy might bring to mind, as is 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, but Valentine has succeeded in crafting a character-driven science-fiction piece that is all her own. It’s remarkably rich in character and detail for such a short work, not to mention a pervasive sense of dread that will stay with you a long time. If you haven’t read any Valentine yet, this novella is a perfect place to start.

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