Cary Caffrey’s The Girls From Alcyone, published 2011, is a very enjoyable space opera with space battles, combat between mechanically enhanced humans, space elevators, corporation-controlled wormholes, and so on. There are some blatant political messages too about the inhuman greed of politicians, the use of propaganda, the destruction of Earth’s environment, and the idea that little girls should be afraid of the big, bad man. This last in particular – it’s not a clear-cut female-male good-evil opposition, but that’s the sense of it.
The story follows Sigrid’s early life, starting with her being taken from Earth to Alcyone as a young girl, where she and thirty-odd other girls are trained to be elite special-ops warriors by the Kimura mercenary organisation; they are also modified genetically and cybernetically. Reminds me sometimes of Dark Angel (the series with Jessica Alba) and Naked Weapon (with Maggie Q – great film if you like female assassins). There are the usual themes of adversity, friendship, bullying, and eventually love. That’s the first half of the book. The second half is Sigrid’s grand space adventure, the race to rescue the girls of Alcyone from the evil forces that would destroy them one way or another. It’s imaginative, scientifically clever, and generally a very tense read – I stayed up until four in the morning to finish it.
I do have some minor complaints. The repeated use of ‘Oh my’ makes me wince. Sigrid’s capabilities seem a little extreme and without negative consequences, so that it creeps into the realm of fantasy character; occasional unnecessary repetition of how amazing the girls are adds to this impression.
But I really enjoyed this and I will be reading the next in the series (The Machines of Bellatrix).