Nimisha Boynton-Rondymense was the body-heir of Lady Rezalla and, as such, was the heiress of one of the First Families on Vega III. But even as a child she eschewed the formalities of her aristocratic background and was happiest in her father’s shipyard. By the time she was in her twenties she was the designer of the most advanced space yacht in the galaxy, and was owner of the Rondymense shipyards.
It was on a test of her Mark 5 prototype that things went wrong. In an empty space field, suitable for test runs, she was suddenly confronted with the boiling white pout of a wormhole, was sucked in, only to be thrown out into an unknown dimension of space. She was not the first. As she explored this new, unfamiliar section of the universe she found traces of ships that had been marooned over many centuries.
Not knowing if she would ever return to the world she knew, Nimisha chose to land on ‘Erewhon’ – fascinating, terrifying, beautiful and frightening – and inhabited not only by three survivors of a previous Vegan ship but by something else…
This has long been one of my favourite sci-fi books, and I still enjoy it whenever I pick it up for a fresh read, but my tastes have changed over the years and I now wish it was written in a harder style. The story is decently written and accessible, with no complicated technological terms to confuse the reader, and likeable characters, especially Nimisha herself; in addition to that there’s some nice, if not extensive, descriptive detail and the aliens are nicely imagined.
I do find that the situations are coped with a little too easily at times, which takes away any real sense of struggle or danger, and that’s a shame. Even the attacks connected to the fight over Nimisha’s inheritance are treated too casually, and at the end of the book there’s no resolution to that situation, it just seems to be forgotten about.
Don’t get me wrong, this is an enjoyable book, but only if your preference is for a lighter read. This same story in the hands of someone who writes heavier, more in-depth, sci-fi could have been absolutely fabulous. That said, I still look forward to reading it again.