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On a Red Station, Drifting Hardcover – December 24, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 116 pages
  • Publisher: Immersion Press (December 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0956392458
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956392459
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,716,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Aliette de Bodard is a half-French, half-Vietnamese computer and history geek who lives in Paris. In her spare time, she writes speculative fiction. Her short stories have appeared in many venues, including Asimov's, Interzone and the Year's Best Science Fiction.
She has a special interest in non-Western civilisations, particularly Ancient Vietnam, Ancient China and Ancient Mesoamerica. Her trilogy Obsidian and Blood is set in Ancient Mexico, and she is currently working on an urban fantasy set in Paris.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Her characters are complex and well-rounded.
RC Loenen-Ruiz
De Bodard's women are fully realized characters many writers can look at as models on how to do characters right.
Jvstin
Their technology allows them to keep their ancestors with them in a very real way.
Terry Weyna

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Carl V. Anderson on March 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
"For generations Prosper Station has thrived under the guidance of its Honoured Ancestress: born of a human womb, the station’s artificial intelligence has offered guidance and protection to its human relatives.

But war has come to the Dai Viet Empire. Prosper’s brightest minds have been called away to defend the Emperor; and a flood of disorientated refugees strain the station’s resources. As deprivations cause the station’s ordinary life to unravel, uncovering old grudges and tearing apart the decimated family, Station Mistress Quyen and the Honoured Ancestress struggle to keep their relatives united and safe. What Quyen does not know is that the Honoured Ancestress herself is faltering, her mind eaten away by a disease that seems to have no cure; and that the future of the station itself might hang in the balance…"

I don’t often post a book’s copy as the means of beginning a review but in the case of “On a Red Station, Drifting” I believe the quote sets the stage far more succinctly than I ever could, for Aliette de Bodard’s novella is one that invites incoherent fannish babbling while at the same time inspiring one to write a review worthy of her story. I will make a valiant attempt, and I will fail, but in the effort I hope to convey some of what I took away from this unique work of fiction.

Linh is a magistrate of a world falling to the rebel forces who arrives at Prosper Station as a refugee, carrying with her the emotional weight of having abandoned her people at the behest of her most trusted advisor. Quyen is the administrator of Prosper Station, having assumed the mantle after her husband was taken in the war effort. Though she is in direct communication with the station’s A.I.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kathryn M Sinclair on April 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a perfect novella - it shows off the strengths of the form, telling its story with brevity and concentration but no less depth for that. I found it engrossing, satisfying and particularly liked the vision of a stellar empire founded from a Vietnamese cultural base. Quyen and Linh were wonderful main protagonists, so flawed, so different, yet ultimately so willing to do what was needed to keep Prosper safe. Highly recommend.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Meryl A. Ferguson on September 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Lovely. So refreshing to read something that's not euro-centric. Loved the complex culture and the ancestor-implants. Much to enjoy in this bittersweet tale.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Terry Weyna on May 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Linh was a magistrate on the 23rd Planet when war came. She escaped to Prosper Station on a ship full of refugees, waiting until all of the others' papers were checked before introducing herself to the authorities. "Magistrate" is a position of considerable power in Linh's universe, and when her identity is verified by reference to the station computers, she is taken to Quyen, the woman who runs the station. The two women take an instant dislike to one another, thus setting the stage for everything that follows.

Linh and Quyen are of Vietnamese heritage, in a world in which the Dai Viet -- the Vietnamese dynasties, beginning with the rule of Lý Thánh Tông in 1054 -- stayed in power until the space age, and then spread out among the stars. Their technology allows them to keep their ancestors with them in a very real way. Linh, for instance, has memory implants of six of her ancestors, and feels their presence so keenly that it is becoming difficult for her to tell the voices of the implants from that of her own mind, a common side-effect of being very good at using them. Prosper Station is managed by a Mind that takes the personality of an honoured ancestress.

Quyen has managerial control of the station by default. She was sent to the station in order to be married, to broker a trade alliance and act as a brood mare. She failed the examinations that might have given her a different life, examinations that Linh clearly passed. Quyen's husband has been called away by the necessities of the war, and has been gone for so long that Quyen has almost forgotten the sound of his voice. This has left her in charge of the station, a position for which she has no training but fulfills well.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There was a lot that felt unfamiliar to me about this book. I don't read a lot of science fiction, so already I felt a bit out of my depth right from the start, with all the action taking place on space stations and distant planets. I also don't know a lot about Vietnamese culture, and therefore wasn't always sure if I was a little lost because I didn't understand the culture or the setting. Regardless, I was a little lost :-)

But I expected to feel a little lost in reading a new genre, and I didn't mind very much. There was a lot that felt familiar, too, for those that know the fantasy and science fiction genres well - a once-prosperous place now fallen on hard times with a large population and limited resources. Failing infrastructure. A long, never-ending war that has taken away the heroes and left the defenseless alone. You know the story, right? But that's where de Bodard takes off into the awesomeness of a feminine perspective and an East Asian influence.
It is so rare (really, ridiculously rare) to see a woman's perspective in fantasy and science fiction, and even more abysmally rare to see the perspective of someone of color. It was so refreshing to read this book, with its two central characters both women, and neither of them with a romantic interest or "God, I wish I was prettier" thought in their heads for the whole book! Rather, both women were concerned about their friends and family and their ways of life. You know. Things that normal people care about. And, much like in real life, there is no villain in this story. There are just people with different perspectives who misunderstand each other and want different things.
And the Vietnamese perspective was so great, too.
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