Sharlene's Reviews > Remnant Population

Remnant Population by Elizabeth Moon
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's review
Jul 13, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: science-fiction, 2011, ebook
Read from July 13 to 15, 2011

I really like going into a book with no expectations, with hardly any idea of what the plot is. Because sometimes a book surprises you. Like Elizabeth Moon’s Remnant Population did with me.

And so it began one day with me scrolling through the Singapore library’s Overdrive collection, the Science Fiction category in particular. I’m not sure why I landed on Remnant Population. Perhaps it was the author’s name. Elizabeth Moon. It just sounded like a pretty awesome name to me – Chinese surnames aren’t exactly very interesting, are they? The title – and the cover art – already suggested that this was some kind of space colony-related work. And yeah, that’s what it is.

So here’s the story, if you care to find out. If you prefer to go in blind, you probably should stop here. Ofelia has lived for over 40 years on this colony planet, the more recent few with her son and daughter-in-law, but now the colonists are to be shipped off after the company loses its franchise. She takes matters into her own hands and hides out in the woods while the evacuation proceeds. Ofelia is glad to be the only human on this planet. But she soon discovers that she’s not alone…

Dum dum DUM!

Well no, it’s not a horror-alien kind of story. Instead, the ‘aliens’ (they are actually indigenous to the planet, but for some reason have never come into contact with the colonists before – perhaps this part of the story is a little bit harder to believe) are intelligent, and are actually kind of endearing. And while Ofelia teaches them things, she learns plenty from them in exchange.

The human-alien interaction is interesting – and occasionally amusing – but what I enjoyed most were the very physicalness of Ofelia’s life on the  planet. I’ve never read a book that made me want to go out into my (rather sad) little backyard (I’m so not a gardener and my 8 plants reflect this) and stand in the sun and wish I had a field full of vegetables plump and ripe for the picking. I wanted to sink my fingers into the earth and inhale that green-ness.

Ah, a girl can dream. And in my case, read plenty.

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