In all the stress of the world right now, I’ve needed some comfort reading, and near-future science fiction is exactly my kind of comfort reading. Any book that starts with the premise of impending environmental collapse will almost certainly make my reading list, but one that also has a space travel plot and feminist themes will shoot right to the top of that list. Goldilocks by Laura Lam just so happens to have all of these elements, so it’s no surprise that it made it to my Spring 2020 TBR top ten list! I mean, any book described as a “high concept feminist dystopian thriller” is poised to be one of my favorite books of all time.
Here’s the synopsis:
“Ravaged by environmental disaster, greed and oppression, our planet is in crisis. The future of humanity hangs in the balance – and one woman can tip it over.
Despite increasing restrictions on the freedoms of women on Earth, Valerie Black is spearheading the first all-female mission to a planet in the Goldilocks Zone, where conditions are just right for human habitation.
It’s humanity’s last hope for survival, and Naomi, Valerie’s surrogate daughter and the ship’s botanist, has been waiting her whole life for an opportunity like this – to step out of Valerie’s shadow and really make a difference.
But when things start going wrong on the ship, Naomi starts to suspect that someone on board is concealing a terrible secret – and realizes time for life on Earth may be running out faster than they feared…”
Goodness gracious, this book was amazing. First of all, the characters are simply brilliant. Nearly all of the main characters are fierce women scientists and engineers making their way in a dystopian version of our world where women’s rights and opportunities have been purposely diminished. That alone had me fired up to read this novel. Not only are the women strong and fierce, but they are also smart, feminine, complicated, and maddeningly complex.
The relationships between each and every one of the characters is thoroughly developed, and I loved that not every relationship has a shiny, happy ending. Life is complicated, relationships are complicated, and Goldilocks doesn’t shy away from that. If you like reading about complicated family dynamics, this is a great book that explores that without focusing too heavily on it.
This wouldn’t be a Sci Fi book without some crazy science-y business going on, and that’s definitely here, too. The space travel and other science bits [spoilers to explain further, I’m afraid] were well done, even though I am not an expert at all for what is factual or possible or remotely viable for space travel. What matters is that Goldilocks was believable, and I enjoyed its science fiction elements a whole lot.
Lam’s writing is spectacular, and I am so excited to have found a woman SciFi author whose writing I enjoy this much. From the progressive themes to the unreliable narration to the complex women characters, Goldilocks was nearly perfect for me. 5/5 stars.
Being a part of this blog tour (on Goldilocks‘ US release day no less) is just amazing, and I am so super happy that I loved this novel. Stories like Goldilocks are why I wanted to begin blogging on science fiction; this is a book that deserves to be out in the world and read. If you love dystopian literature or science fiction or feminist stories, you absolutely need to read Goldilocks.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laura Lam is the author of several science fiction books, including Radio 2 Book Club selection False Hearts. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in anthologies such as Nasty Women, Solaris Rising 3, Cranky Ladies of History, Scotland in Space, and more.
Originally from California, she now lives in Scotland with her husband, and teaches Creative Writing at Edinburgh Napier University.
Tons of thanks to the author, the publisher, and Random Things Tours for letting me be a part of this tour! More thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me an eArc of the book.