Publication Date: April 1, 2012
Abigail Boyd-Lei is a teenager living on a dying Earth in the thirty-first century. She left school at 13 and lives in a tiny one-room apartment with her grandmother, parents and three siblings. When an alien race comes to Earth, they offer Abigail an escape and hope for the future. She can immigrate to a planet of bounty where all of her dreams will come true. Will the reality match her dreams? Cole Alekos is a humanoid hybrid and space explorer living in relative time. A few months in space can be decades on Earth. His son, Harden, has detached himself from society after the untimely suicide of his wife. Harden drinks and smokes too much and is generally not a good example for anyone. Can Harden and his crew protect Abby from formidable adversary and after what Abby has found in her new world, can she reconcile herself to the future?
[easyazon-link asin=”1937546144″ locale=”us”]Other Systems[/easyazon-link] is a very unique science fiction story. The Earth is dying when aliens arrive looking for immigrants for their planet where reproduction is a problem. The author paints a stark picture of what Seattle has become. There’s overpopulation, and Abby and her family live in what they call a “commune” which is actually an overcrowded slum with whole families living by the thousands in rooms in one building. The newcomers paint a lush paradise, and the testing and actual technical savvy conveyed to get these immigrants to their new planet is quite detailed and vivid. There are so shimmery waves that take you up to a ship and into space. The aliens build elevators with robotics. They take the best and the brightest. Abby learns over time who the aliens are and how much they actually know. The writing style flows well and the story unfolds in such a way that the reader has a need to see the character flourish and to reach in the pages and give her a hug.
There is an unfinished feeling to [easyazon-link asin=”1937546144″ locale=”us”]Other Systems[/easyazon-link] in regard to the Alekos’ story line. The novel starts with the father Cole, and his son, Harden’s loss and then shifts pretty rapidly to Abby. Once the two story lines converge, the focus is almost solely on Abby. We do get looks at Harden, Mark and Helen but rarely with any depth unless it’s as they relate to Abby. The way the author brings together the story line makes sense and provides a sharp sense of relief for the reader because we know these are good people despite appearances. The shift does cause an incomplete feeling. I simply would have liked to have read more about them.
I was deeply uncomfortable with some of the themes in this story. We know as readers that Abby is deluding herself through much of her story line on the new planet. We want to shake this young woman and say, “Things aren’t going to work out the way you think they will.” She develops a bit of a Stockholm Syndrome with the people who watch over her. It’s natural but disturbing to read. In light of what we know, that things have worked out so well for Orchid and other young humans in the alien society doesn’t have the ring of truth. The author also glosses over the fate of one of the original characters. In a conversation, Orchid clearly knows what happened to Jin and implies his fate, but Abby doesn’t ask. It doesn’t make sense to me that she wouldn’t ask. Also, what happens to Rory? We see him once again after he immigrates but he is not mentioned in future scenes.
Overall this story was a really good idea. The new world is complex and fascinating. The Alekos family was likable which is why this reader wanted more of them. More of their history and while the author explains the sterilization of their species, more on their motivations and movement within the story line.
I also want to hug Harden.[easyazon-link asin=”1937546144″ locale=”us”]Other Systems[/easyazon-link] was a very good read that left me wanting more. I hope that the author will continue with these characters and world in future works. Read on excerpt and buy Other Systems by Elizabeth Guizzetti on
Prior to becoming an author, Elizabeth Guizzetti worked as an artist. She created the graphic novels, Faminelands and Lure, and the comic book series Out for Souls & Cookies.