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The Space Between the Stars Hardcover – 1 Jun 2017
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Anne Corlett is a writer with huge potential, and I’m looking forward to her future works (Claire North, author of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August)
An original thinker and a very, very effective writer (Fay Weldon)
Anne Corlett is a natural writer, full of stories (Maggie Gee)
Beautifully written (Laura Lam)
A thoughtful, even meditative apocalypse (SFX)
An impressively strong debut . . . rewards the reader with real characters, strong emotional beats, and a fantastic journey across the stars (The Book Bag)
Corlett’s prose lures you in (Culturess)
The Space Between the Stars is one of my favourite books of the summer. One part post-apocalyptic ‘found family’ adventure, one part thoughtful exploration of trauma and grief, The Space Between the Stars is a refreshingly intimate and hopeful spin on the end-of-the-world narrative (Den of Geek)
The Space Between The Stars is – for me, at least – this year’s Station Eleven . . . it spoke straight to my heart and unstrung it, leaving me crying quietly on an aeroplane . . . Like Station Eleven, this is a story that uses a SF conceit to explore human nature rather than a story that is interested in its SF trappings (Speculative Herald)
A novel of love, loss and second chances from debut novelist Anne Corlett, perfect for fans of Emily St John Mandel's Station Eleven.See all Product description
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So, ok, it's a post disaster story and it's mostly about Jamie searching for meaning in her life. Basically, the space travel element and the various colonised worlds are a slightly different back drop for the characters and the plot and a structure on which to base a number of ideas about religion, choices, humanity and, obviously, an end of the world scenario.
I haven't put this book down thinking 'Wow!' so much as 'mmm - that was quite nice'. It was a good light read. The characters were engaging. There were enough surprises to keep it interesting. It was optimistic. The places were convincingly depicted - if not SF enough for some. I wouldn't go as far as the reviewer who called it Mills and Boone in space, it's definitely better than that, but there is a slight leaning that way. What I did like was the strong development of Jamie as a character woven into the story
This novel follows Jamie, who awakens to find that she has survived a deadly plague that has ripped through Earth, and the other planets that humans have colonised. She discovers other survivors, and together they try to make their way to Earth, which they have chosen as some sort of 'safe haven' to begin again.
This novel really wasn't what I was expecting, the blurb suggested a dystopian style novel with end of the world style action, with rebuilding and re-inhabiting of the decimated Earth, and other planets. Instead, there is very little action in this novel, the characters travel through space a lot, but other than this interstellar travel the action is minimal. The majority of the narrative is filled with Jamie's philosophical wonderings on the purpose and meaning of life and the existence of God among other 'big topics'. I'm not sure how I feel about this, some elements of the narrative were quite interesting, and did encourage me to think about how it would be to be one of the last human survivors on a planet. But at the same time it sometimes felt too much. It felt too preachy and it got exhausting to read her constant meandering thoughts.
The above mentioned lack of action made the novel a little slow going, but it did mean that when periods of action took place, I appreciated the change of pace more. In actual fact, the action scenes that Corlett wrote were well done, especially when considered that the novel is written from a first persons P.O.V.
The novel is written completely from Jamie's point of view, and I must admit that I tend to find the 1st person narrative difficult to read if the character isn't intriguing enough. This was the problem I had in this novel, Jamie is not an interesting enough character to warrant my enthusiasm to continue the novel, and I really had to drag myself through it at times. She's a particularly negative person, and she whines for approximately 80% of her narration, which is exhausting to read constantly!! She is also constantly suspicious and thinks the worst of everyone she meets, making the novel quite a dark and moody read, with very little happiness or positivity to lighten it. I can understand that experiencing most of humanity being wiped out by a plague would be a pretty negative experience, but the narrator didn't seem able to think positively about anything, and for me personally this made the novel slow and difficult to get through, and certainly reduced my enjoyment of it.
This novel is set in a fascinating world, with humans inhabiting other planets, and space travel is a totally normal thing. I would've liked more background information about the world; things like how the Government ruled and number of planets inhabited would have been interesting to read about, but obviously I realise that that was not the purpose of the novel.
One element of this novel that I really enjoyed was the romantic element that ran through it. This was well created by Corlett, it had enough back story to make it believable, and the foundations for their relationship were built gradually but felt stable and realistic throughout. I was really glad these two characters got together, and the whole atmosphere of the book was definitely lightened by the romance.
Overall I gave this novel 3.5/5 stars. I thought it was an interesting take on science fiction and the end of the world narratives, and placing the focus on the human side of it, and how a human would psychologically cope was an interesting take. However, I felt that the whiny narrator paired with a fairly slow meandering narration did not hook me the way I was hoping it would.
The stories woven around the characters and the contrast between space travel and the tranquillity of the Northumberland Coast made for a wonderful read,
I didn’t want to finish this book and I'm really hoping there are going to be more to follow with this story line
It is a beautifully written book and would make such a great film
This is quite an unusual post-apocalyptic story. It’s about survivors travelling towards somewhere, although they’re not entirely sure where. Some of them are looking for somewhere to start over, one is looking for a loved one, others are just making the journey because they don’t have anything else to do. It explores themes of belief and religion, in an end-of-world setting.
The characters are quite mixed. We have a vet, a preacher, a scientist, a prostitute, an autistic boy, an engineer and a captain. Along the way, they meet desperate men, those in charge, period enactors, and a girl who would rather communicate online. Many different perspectives are explored, and it is very interesting.
However, the main character was extremely dislikeable and she made the book quite painful to read at times.
It is an interesting and thought-provoking book but could have benefitted from less focus on the main character’s personal relationships.
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