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

4.6 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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$16.50 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
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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: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,630,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read the reviews before I bought this book - in fact I bought it on a strength of the review by a very tough critic and she gave it unqualified highest praise. I do think that this story is a perfect novella. As many stated the setting is an ancient Vietnam in space, and I usually scowl at an attempt to mix ancient times and scifi, it feels ridiculous to me. This was just done so beautifully and with such delicate touch, I loved it. But more importantly at the center of the story is the fight? argument? between two stubborn and strong women who had to take the positions of power and who struggle with repercussion of such decisions in different or same ways.
It is really good, much better than my review can ever articulate. The ending is bittersweet and a bit depressing, but strangely satisfying to.
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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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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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This novella follows a bit of family intrigue on (you guessed it: a red space station) and its connections to the Empire at large. The society that forms the backdrop of the novella seems to be based on Vietnamese culture, which had all sorts of fun brain paths all by itself. What occurred back on old Earth that led to an interplanetary empire ruled by the Vietnamese? Is this one of many empires in a vast galactic network? There's reference to people not purely of Dai Viet descent, what happened to them?

But I digress. This book is ultimately about both the ties of family and the value of when and how to fall in line. How do you know when you're right and should stick to your guns, versus when you're wrong and need to swallow your pride? The relationships between women in unequal roles in society, and how they can resolve the tension between them without hurting others under their control.

The prose is elegant, the characters are well rounded. I would highly recommend this book, particularly to fans of science fiction who want a break from interplanetary Empires that magically all look and sound like Europe or America.
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