It takes a special type of person to carve out an existence on a frontier. Many are running from something or have left everything and everyone far behind. In this novella, that frontier is space. The 5-person crew of Menkalinan does the long haul to remote, tiny Gliese and back at 5 years each way. All but the final 6 months of each passage is meant to be in hibernation.
An act of sabotage destroys the hibernation pods and kills the crew except for Amadis Reyes early in the trek, pulling her into a nearly 5-year journey without enough waking supplies and life support. Her only company is the ship’s AI, Capella, that seems to manipulate and hold back, especially about the contents of the locked cargo bay.
Amadis’ sanity is challenged in this psychologically twisted telling. She often thinks on her nomadic family and dreams of the many houses they did and did not occupy.
Dream Houses appears in The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novellas: 2015 edited by Paula Guran and published by Prime Books. It first appeared independently, published by WSFA Press and Wyrm Publishing. I’ve previously reviewed a couple short stories by Valentine: “Aberration” and “Abyssus Abyssum Invocat”.
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