- File Size: 3422 KB
- Print Length: 43 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Book Smugglers Publishing (July 7, 2015)
- Publication Date: July 7, 2015
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0116H9WIQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,030,384 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Luminous Kindle Edition
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Jyothi Agarwal left her love behind to work on a research team out in space, feeling she could help out humanity. The team determined the proto-colony was habitable, but war broke out before further preparations could be made. The others on the team returned home for war, taking their ship with them, and they haven't reported back. She's been alone on the station for nine years, making daily logs and surveying the land. One day, during her terrain survey, she finds an injured man on the barren planet. Where did he come from and what shall she do with him?
Older people with older bodies find love, too. They don't cease to love uncomfortably, to be free of sharp, ugly feelings. This is the first love story I can remember reading with a sixty-plus year old human as a protagonist. Jyothi is something of a paragon and has most of her act together by her age. When her age becomes an issue for her, Ash resolves this in a way that I appreciated because it wasn't the glamorous ending.
The writing felt gentle, the prose almost Impressionist: even scientific reports, first aid, cargo bays, and speeders became muted and softened. The story gave me a hug. Loneliness is a powerful theme for me. Most of the books I've read that touched me in the amygdala reference loneliness and how we cope with it. I bawled for a while afterwards because Luminous made me feel things that swept me in with the tide.
This is a quick read. I shall reread it whenever I want to evoke that mood.
What makes LUMINOUS really stand out is that it adds something lovely to the traditionally "colder" genre of science fiction. Space is about isolation, steel, technology and logistics. Yet people often forget that in all of that expansive darkness is light: that of stars who are warm, life-giving suns. There are humans, and as long as humans explore and exist in these spaces they will bring with them emotional elements.
The planet of Hestia is not an unrelatable, alien place. It is gentle, and quiet. There was a real possibility of it becoming a human colony, a new place to call home. There was a softness to it - with the help of A.E Ash's gorgeous writing, I could feel the wind on my face. I felt as if I was looking across the grasslands and watching golden light fall from the sky along with the heroine, Jyothi.
Beyond the lovely setting, Jyothi Agarwal is another marvel. She is a woman scientist, which immediately caught my interest - and not just a woman, but an elderly woman of color! To see someone like this represented in the "future" of our world filled me with a sense of hope and victory at seeing yet another author willing to include diversity in her work.
What also makes Jyothi a treasure is that she is a woman of fortitude. She's the sort of character I would want a daughter of mine to read about and admire. Her situation is one where she has been put through a crucible and survived. This beautiful passage describing her stood out to me the most:
// “Obsidian is volcanic, yes, Miss Geologist? Smooth and dark, like you. But with its origins in fire. Just like you, Jyothi.” //
Her patience is rewarded when she meets West. Yes, this is a love story. That's what makes this story so very real, so very human to me. Jyoshi is a competent, badass, fire-forged scientist and yet she has been lonely. Humans are social creatures at the very core. Love and the need for companionship still exists even the the far reaches among the stars, even in the hearts of wanderlust-touched scientists who make sacrifices for the betterment of humanity. A lot of science fiction I have read seems to forget that, caught up in the splendors of technology and the possibilities of the cosmos.
The blossoming romance is handled with artistry and was achingly beautiful to read, as is demonstrated in the following passage:
“How old are you?” she asked finally, looking at him, enjoying the warmth of his hand on hers despite herself.
// “All of my hairs would be silver. No obsidian would remain,” he said and his voice was lower than she’d ever heard it. “Only shining moonlight silver. Like yours, Jyothi—precious silver.” He pressed his chin to the top of her head, his fingers warm and grip firm on her hand. //
If that did not melt you, then this certainly will:
// “Then old-West will love old-Jyothi until the days grow dark and they sleep with the earth,” he said quietly, wrapping one hand around hers. //
Hopefully, that has tempted you to go read LUMINOUS immediately. I cannot recommend it enough.
- 1 equal measure of an ageless star, seeing "life" through human eyes for the first time
- A few good helpings of tight descriptions that help convey fascinating universe building
- A heaping tablespoon of interesting themes, such as routine, companionship, isolationism, fear of death, aging, and war
- Mix in a chunk of fascinating character interactions
- One Giant Scoop of Warm Fuzzies, topped with a pleasantly sweet finish
Bake for about an hour, Enjoy thoroughly!
You will glide through her prose like a dream. There is loss and sadness. There is hope and light. And they will all converge in this beautiful piece.
This is a story that will make you want to close your eyes and savor the feelings it conjured in you at the end.
Most recent customer reviews
This is a fairy tale romance in a sci fi setting and it is the best short story I've read in a...Read more