In the first book (not recapped in this volume), scientist Lt. Jose Melendez found in 2019 that he was one of the few adult men on Earth who wasn’t struck by a strange pandemic that made most of them brutal and violent. Due to his rare status, he submitted himself for medical testing and, in the process, was accidentally frozen for 150 years, finally waking up in a corrupt matriarchal society—a country called Nemericana—that continued to kill and/or banish all male children despite the pandemic having been wiped out years ago. Events proceed in the same vein in the second set of novellas, which tracks, among other things, a series of military actions between the various sides; Melendez’s capture at the hands of Aurora, the head of a cybernetic army; and the relationships between various characters, such as Maj. Mare Sade Singh and her human son, Roberto, who, to her surprise and dismay, has impregnated a woman. Melendez had been rescued by a number of cybernetic women who had also been cast out due to their beginning to achieve sentience, and their revolution against the government continues with Melendez’s help. Erickson has crafted a fascinating series with complex characters and an incredibly rich premise. It’s rare and refreshing to find such female-driven drama—particularly in the context of militaristic sci-fi—that never resorts to stereotypes. At times, the action can grow a bit repetitive, and the forward momentum sometimes stalls in favor of dialogue-heavy scenes. However, these scenes and character dynamics are so strong that it’s easy to forgive. Creating full-bodied characters is as important to Erickson as sci-fi philosophizing, which is crucial to the book’s success.
A truly original sci-fi series with strong ideas and even stronger characters.