Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Satellite by Nick Lake

Happy Book Birthday to Nick Lake whose latest, Satellite, releases today!

Leo has never lived on Earth. He's spent almost sixteen years exclusively on Moon 2, a space station that orbits the planet. Born on Moon 2, Leo and twins Orion and Libra, were told they had to wait until their bodies were deemed strong enough to return to Earth. And that day has finally come. 

Leo looks forward to everything. Gravity, air on his face, the sun... And though Earth has always been referred to as home, it's not a place Leo, Orion, or Libra has ever belonged to. From the start, their trip isn't what they expected and now they have to try to navigate - and survive - against impossible odds. 

Nick Lake's latest is a bit like The Martian for teens. A bit.

We meet Leo and the others just shy of Leo's 16th birthday. He and the twins have been raised on a space station. All three were born there, unplanned, and unable to return unless and until their bodies are strong enough. And because of the effects of space travel on the body, they each only see their mothers for brief periods. So they've been raised by a rotating staff of Moon 2 scientists.

Leo loves space. He wants to be an astronaut. But he does want to see and experience Earth as well. So his trip home is one that he's been anticipating for quite some time. And yet, it's understandable that when he arrives the reality of this planet is not what he expected.

What's more, there are hints throughout that maybe life on Earth isn't all that great at the moment.

Set in the near future, Earth is experiencing drought and other problems. Nasa has been privatized and enveloped within a larger company. And then of course there's the fact that even though Leo and the others have trained for their Earth trip, they've never even faced gravity before much less everything else the planet has to throw at them.

Satellite takes a bit of getting used to. Leo narrates and his voice is clear from the beginning, including his penchant for not using capitalization and speaking almost Twitter like rather than fully spelling out everything. It's jarring at first, but I found I was quickly sucked in. And once I was, boy was Satellite fun!

There are elements that reminded me a lot of The Martian, but there were elements too that reminded me a bit of Jonathan Maberry's Mars One as well. I mean, they're all set in space... but Satellite definitely stands on its own and makes for a fantastic sci fi read. Sci fi for a non sci fi reader, as the book's actual editor puts it. And it's absolutely appropriate!

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