The Stars Now Unclaimed, Drew Williams (Tor 978-1-250-18611-9, $24.99, 448pp, hc) August 2018.
Drew Williams’s The Stars Now Unclaimed is not deep but is a bucket of fun that hews close to the space opera spirit of Star Wars and Firefly.
Jane, our hero, is one of the Justified, a band of beings whose goal is to protect the rest of the universe from the Pulse, a technology destroying burst that the Justified intentionally unleashed.
“That’s why I was here: trying to right my own wrongs. In a very small way, of course. I was only one woman, and it was a big, big universe. Also, I had a great many wrongs,” Jane says early on, and this bit of text sets the tone.
Jane hops from planet to planet picking up kids who have been gifted with the ability to control physical matter with their minds. She’s on a backwater world to snatch up Esa, a teen with said ability. Just as she’s about to make the pick-up, though, the Pax swoops in to try to claim Esa for their own. Or, barring that, firebomb the place to make sure no one can have her because they are big fans of scorched earths.
What follows borrows heavily from Lucas and Whedon as Jane and company bounce around the ‘verse trying to deliver Esa, fight some pirates, and save the universe. Jane grows, Esa rebels, and plots twist. While you can see most of said twists from parsecs away, it’s still fun to hang out with these characters in this universe for 400-some pages.
Adrienne Martini has been reading or writing about science fiction for decades and has had two non-fiction, non-genre books published by Simon and Schuster. She lives in Upstate New York with one husband, two kids, and one corgi. She also runs a lot.
This review and more like it in the October 2018 issue of Locus.
While you are here, please take a moment to support Locus with a one-time or recurring donation. We rely on reader donations to keep the magazine and site going, and would like to keep the site paywall free, but WE NEED YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT to continue quality coverage of the science fiction and fantasy field.