Scylla and Charybdis

Scylla and Charybdis

by Lindsey Duncan (Kristell Ink)

Four generations ago a genetically-engineered disease that is only transmitted by human males,  Y-poisoning, caused widespread death and anarchy, and destroyed Earth. To escape that, a group of women set up a hidden, self-sufficient  space station. They chose to name it after the land of the Greek amazons, Themiscyra, and themselves after the Greek amazon warriors. But rather than being warriors, they had no weapons. Their only protection was secrecy.

The setup could be hokey and awkward; instead, it’s fascinating.

Our story starts with Anaea, a young woman from the space station on a salvage crew that is working its way through a ruined spaceship. As she is new, they put her in charge of looking at the area that is least likely to have survivors. But she finds one. Gwydion’s the first male Anaea has ever seen, and he’s hoping she and her people will take him home. But since the space station’s only protection is secrecy, he cannot be allowed to leave.

Concerned about Gwydion (who would not want to go home?) she pulls an illicit visit and finds out he’s telepathic and sincerely will not tell others about the station. Anaea gets a girlfriend hacker to see what’s to be done with him. They’re going to do a mind-wipe on Gwydion. She decides to see if his ship, which has been brought in for further salvage, still works. She’s discovered on that ship, arrested, and breaks out of confinement and helps Gwydion escape the station, rendering her homeless.

Anaea looks for a new place to fit in. She, with Gwydion until he gets home (and without him afterward),  bounces between the two main parts of the known Galaxy—the Collective and the Empire—which are at either end of a hyperspace corridor. The people she meets and the things that happen to her all combine into an amazing climax that I don’t want to give away.

I’ve been following Lindsey Duncan’s work for years, since she published her first short story with A&A back in 2007. With this book she’s broken out and reached a whole new level. You’re going to want to read this and share it with your friends.

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