A political and family drama set in two very different colonies on the moon—one patriarchal, one matriarchal.
Erno is an exile from the Society of Cousins, a matriarchal society where men can’t vote. He’s recently washed up in Persepolis, a colony founded to recapture dreams of Persian glory. While Erno struggles at the fringes of Persepolis, Amestris sits in a place of power in the colony—but only because of her father’s wealth and influence. Mira is a provocative Cousins graffiti artist who’s sleeping with Carey, a notorious troublemaker and “the most popular boyfriend in the colony.” Carey’s son, Val, is getting interested in the "masculinist" cause led by Hypatia (who’s also Carey’s lover). Soon, all of them, plus Val’s mother, Roz, and an "uplifted" canine journalist named Sirius will be drawn into a complex web of alliances and machinations. In this tense political environment, Carey’s desire to play a bigger role in his son’s life could destabilize everything. For a futuristic Utopia, the Society of Cousins is based on oddly old-fashioned ideas about essential differences between men and women, and the characters’ motivations don’t always ring completely true. But Kessel (The Baum Plan for Financial Independence and Other Stories, 2008, etc.) has imagined a richly detailed future world, and a strong plot full of intrigue keeps this story moving along.
This is a fun diversion for sci-fi fans even if it doesn’t quite manage to make any profound statements on gender or political oppression.