Ignorance is bliss, argues Ramirez’s debut novel, a dark sci-fi fable set aboard a multigenerational spaceship that holds humanity’s only hope for survival.
The Noah is hundreds of years away from a devastated Earth, and hundreds of years remain before it will reach its destination, the planet Canaan. The crew leads a carefully regulated existence in a simulated city, constructing and powering their society via psychic abilities enhanced by cybernetic Implants. Awakening after Breeding Duty (traditionally spent drugged into unconsciousness), city planning administrator Hana Dempsey struggles to take up the reins of her previously ordered life. Her savior, friend and prospective lover, Inspector Leonard Barrens, further disrupts that order when he asks Hana to employ her hacking skills to discover who hideously dismembered his mentor. Barrens believes the ship’s administration is covering up the existence of a serial killer, but the reality is far worse than that. The couple’s investigation sparks a revolution that threatens their lives, the ship’s mission and everything they’ve ever believed in. Discovering a buried truth is usually a cathartic process in stories of this type; most authors support the idea that the wounds caused by ugly secrets can only be healed through exposure. Ramirez’s intricately and deftly constructed scenario provides a grim, compelling argument for the other point of view: In some cases, he suggests, survival may depend upon the palatable lie. He offers no happy endings but holds out the possibility of a bittersweet hope.
Intriguing and powerfully disruptive.