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(White Space #2)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  202 ratings  ·  89 reviews
In this compelling and addictive novel set in the same universe as the critically acclaimed White Space series and perfect for fans of Karen Traviss and Ada Hoffman, a space station begins to unravel when a routine search and rescue mission returns after going dangerously awry.

Meet Doctor Jens.

She hasn’t had a decent cup of coffee in fifteen years. Her workday begins whe
Hardcover, 496 pages
Published October 20th 2020 by Gallery / Saga Press
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Elizabeth Bear You can completely read this one as a stand-alone, though there will be spoilers for a few outcomes in Ancestral Night!
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Average rating 4.02  · 
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MACHINE by Elizabeth Bear is a space opera and the second book in the White Space series. It is also the first book that I have read by this author. While reading book one in the series might provide more background, this read well as a standalone novel. Dr. Jens is a trauma doctor and rescue specialist. She is of the crew on an ambulance ship answering a distress signal. Two ships, one centuries old, and another one that is contemporary are connected and no one is responding so Dr. Jens and Tso ...more
Mar 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Ancestral Night
Thank you to NetGalley and Saga Press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Machine takes place in the same universe as Elizabeth Bear’s Ancestral Night, which was a three-star read for me but nonetheless left an overall positive impression. Machine follows an entirely new cast of characters and tells a very different story set in the same world as Ancestral Night. I was excited to see it on NetGalley and even more excited when my ARC request was approved.

As you might ima
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
4.0 Stars Machine
This was a solid piece of science fiction that blended together elements of a mystery into a larger space opera narrative. The story had a fantastic setup which immediately grabbed my attention from the first chapter. In terms of pace, this one was more of a slow burn, but that did not prevent me from becoming immersed in the narrative.

The worldbuilding in this novel was excellent, naturally weaving details about the future technology into the story in an organic way. There was
Set in the same universe as Ancestral Night, Machine is in no sense a sequel. It doesn't even have the same characters. But it has a sense of familiarity to those who experienced Ancestral Night. This time, our characters don't get entangled with space pirates and refugees. Our main character is a doctor assigned to a medical rescue team en route to answering a distress call. And when they get there it's nothing like they could have imagined. One ship is a giant from the dawn of human memory wit ...more
Sherwood Smith
In this second space opera/mystery in her White Space series, Elizabeth Bear gives us first-person narrator Dr. Brookllyn Jens, who is part of an EMT team aboard the Synarche Medical Vessel I Race To Seek the Living. She’s a tough, lonely person(in spite of a failed marriage and a daughter (view spoiler)), who lives w ...more
Judy Lesley
Aug 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Wow, this one ticked all the boxes for me. From first page to last I was hooked.

Dr. Brookllyn Jens is a doctor working from an ambulance ship going to the rescue of those in distress in space. She and the crew of the Synarche Medical Vessel I Race To Seek the Living have located the ship sending the distress call, Big Rock Candy Mountain, a ship that left Terra about six hundred years previously, and Llyn and her team must make the jump from her ship onto Big Rock Candy Mountain to ascertain th
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Machine is a very good medical science fiction space adventure with a very diverse cast of well conceived alien races, elements of mystery, some good humor, and intelligent examinations of what it takes to get along with others both on a personal and societal level. The main character is a doctor who specializes in first-responder rescue situations; she used to be in police work and both professions are exercised to extremes in Machine. Some of the characters are artificial intelligences, and I ...more
Lis Carey
Oct 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: f-sf, fiction, arcs
This is a standalone novel, the second set in the "White Space" universe of Bear's Ancestral Nights. There are some recurring characters, but no spoilers.

Dr. Brookllyn Jens is a rescue specialist on SPV I Race to Save the Living, better known by the shipmind's name, Sally. They operate out of Core General, a large, multispecies hospital, and have been dispatched to a site from which a distress signal has been received.

They arrive to find two ships, a centuries-old generation ship, and a current
Oct 19, 2020 rated it did not like it
Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review .

So no one will ever be able to accuse me of not being completely honest, even with books I got for free to review after this. I feel bad because this is an ARC and so with those I really want to be able to give good to glowing reviews. I do hope the author never sees this review.

But this book is frankly unreadable and I, unfortunately, hated it almost from page one. All of my issues were with the writi
May 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the sequel to *Ancestral Night*, but there will be no spoilers. This is a "takes place in the same universe" kind of sequel, where we get some recurring characters rather than a continuation of the same story.

The bad news is that this book does not feature space cats (though Bear assured me on Twitter that she has plans for further books featuring space cats). The good news is that we get more mantis cop.

This book takes place about 5 ~~years~~ ans after the events of *Ancestral Night*. T
Aug 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Brookllyn Jens is an EMT in the Synarche’s ambulance spaceship I Race To Seek the Living. Elizabeth Bear’s soon-to-be-released second space opera novel in her White Space universe, is not a sequel to her 2019 Ancestral Night, but another story in the same universe. It opens on a rescue mission into the newly re-discovered generation ship Big Rock Candy Mountain, launched some centuries ago, before the advent of faster-than-light travel and before humanity entered the galactic civilization kn ...more
Dee Arr
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
It was a treat for me to read a science fiction book that reminded me of the scifi I had read in the past. Shelves and web pages contain a plethora of fantasy books and while I enjoy reading those also, nothing beats a scifi tale with substance.

“Machine” fits the bill, adding plenty of meat to the pages by digging deep into the culture of a galaxy centuries down the road. Author Elizabeth Bear focuses on the world-building, and we receive plenty of descriptions of life in the future without it s
May 16, 2018 marked it as anti-library  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
'...about a woman who is a space trauma rescue specialist for an enormous multi-species medical center.' And this one here sounds even better?!
Rogan Shannon
Sep 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thanks to NetGalley for providing this copy to review.

Representation: disabled and lesbian MC, casual queer rep in other characters with use of varying pronouns

Dr. Brookllyn Jens works on a medical rescue spaceship that's been sent to answer a distress call coming from a generation ship that left Terra a long time ago. Her crew arrives to find that the entire ship is in cryopods, the on-board AI seems to be unstable, there's a strange tinkertoy-like machine filling much of the ship, and there's
Jul 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
A very entertaining sci-fi novel, Machine is so immersive that it was hard to come back to Earth after reading. Llyn Jens is a rescue specialist in a space ambulance. She and her team find two different ships in distress. Both are very different, but their issues seem vaguely similar. Dr. Jens takes them to a space hospital and things start to go wrong. The characters are impressive. It’s not easy to make a human care about creatures so alien that they should be impossible to relate to, and yet, ...more
Laura (crofteereader)
Objectively, this is a book I probably would have enjoyed. You can check out my naive review of Ancestral Night, which I read (and loved) last year. Bear writes complex, unabashedly queer, totally unique, adapted-to-space characters. The MC in this one also has hardcore chronic pain, which factors heavily in how and when she does things.

However, I couldn't stop thinking about the horrible things Elizabeth Bear and her now-husband were accused of: grooming, manipulation, gaslighting, emotional ab
Ralph Blackburn
Jun 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Machine by Elizabeth Bear- This is an intense hard space opera that keeps coming up with new plot twists and strange happenings. The story begins with a rescue ship answering a distress call in deep space. Okay, this is the third book with this premise that I've read in the last three months. Must be a new branch of Science Fiction- "the rescue party and the unresponsive ship, that leads to bad things happening." The narrator is a rescue specialist with some physical problems, just like in anoth ...more
Arthur L Spain
Oct 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Space Opera

Wow! This was good. As much as I liked the first book in this universe, I think this one is better. Great story! I liked the characters. The world building is excellent. One of the best books I’ve read this year.
Oct 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Doctor Brookllyn Jens loves her job. She’s a rescue worker who, like a daredevil, leaps through empty space from one ship to another to save people in need of rescue from the endless dangers of interstellar travel. Jens loves her job. It gives her a foundation to fall back on and something to believe in. But when Jens arrives at an ancient generation ship stranded far from where it should be and finds a much newer ship trapped along with it, she unwittingly unleashes a mystery that could affect ...more
Lauren loves llamas
Content warnings: (view spoiler)

While this is the second in the series, it could easily be read as a standalone. There are some cameos, small and large, from previous characters, but no prior knowledge of them or the plot of the previous book is necessary.

“What was there to get scared of? There’s just a job to do.” I wrapped my hands around the mug. The heat helped the ache.
“Oh,” he said, “fembots.
Oct 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Genuinely surprised after reading this to learn that Elizabeth Bear has no military/police background. Or, perhaps, like myself, she spent formative years around military, which would definitely explain the wholly authentic feel she brings to the ex-military protagonist and judiciary command structure of the universe she creates here in Machine which, while the second in a series, can be easily read as a standalone. I'm actually rather also surprised that this is the first thing of hers I've eve ...more
Lashaan Balasingam (Bookidote)

You can find my review on my blog by clicking here.

Once convinced that life is but an eternal mystery enveloping our existence only for us to discover our purpose and its many miracles, some dedicate their entire life to a unique cause, allowing it to surprise them on a daily basis. There might not be any point to question the future, their destiny, or their faith, when stuck in an unending loop of complacency, one where the thrill of every day’s duty is enough to stimulate their mind and get th
Oct 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, arc-net-galley
Second novel in the White Space universe, Machine follows Dr. Llyn Jens, a doctor at a major medical base called Core General. Llyn (short for Brookllyn, a name gifted her by her old-fashioned parents) is a human syster (species) is descended from Terrans who survived what short-sighted humans had done to the earth. She lives with chronic pain, managed by her medical exo suit, which also lets her work in differing conditions. As Machine opens, Llyn and her colleague Tsosie are on a rescue missio ...more
Oliver Bowdoin
Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery / Saga Press for providing an early ARC in exchange for an honest review. Also, I have included quotes, which are subject to change as the book has not been released yet..

I’m giving Machine Four Star’s. Below is my review. Hope you enjoy!

Great fun all along the way in the second White Space novel from Elizabeth Bear. Machine was a big Want the moment I saw that it was coming out. I loved the style of space opera I enjoyed in the previous work, Ancestral Night.
Oct 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
While I ultimately enjoyed the experience for much of the time this was an incredibly challenging novel for me to read.

Similar to my experience with the first book, some of the concepts and ideas presented in Machine elicited a surprisingly visceral reaction. And not a positive one. In the first book I struggled with a knee jerk negative emotional response every time the subject of Tuning emotions came up. Not because of the technology itself which I came to understand better as I read the book
Wow, this was intense. At nearly 500 pages, it's not exactly a short read, but I started it yesterday afternoon and was gripped and unable to put it down for 12 hours, when something approximating good sense prevailed upon me to get some sleep. And here, almost exactly 24 hours after opening it, I've finished inhaling it.

I really, really liked it. It starts strong with some knife-edge anticipation (derelict ancient ship, distress signals, decidedly suspicious circumstances, anyone?) and then mai
Becca ConsumesBooks
Sep 12, 2020 rated it liked it

So I'm a sucker for 'this ancient thing has reappeared with no signs of activity' sort of mysteries.

Machine definitely qualifies but to my surprise it was the world building, not the mystery, that carried the day. Machine is an even split between medical drama, space opera, and mystery which is a pretty odd blend of genres but largely it pulls it off. The book was only limited by the conclusion of its mystery which, although adequately explained, left me unsatisfied.
This book an 'in the same
Scott Whitmore
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most of us have worked with someone like Dr. Brookllyn Jens, the protagonist of Machine, an upcoming novel by Elizabeth Bear. The doctor is great at her job and can hold her own among her workmates, whether trading sarcastic comments or discussing any number of subjects. But then you find out she’s married, or divorced, or has a kid (maybe all three), and suddenly realize just how little you truly know about someone you’ve worked with for months or years.

This review is based on an advance copy
Sep 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, arc, netgalley
Full disclosure: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Dr. Brookllyn Jens is a search and rescue specialist on an ambulance ship sent to rescue an unresponsive spaceship that sent a distress signal and the likewise unresponsive ancient human generation ship that it had evidently discovered and docked with. What Dr. Jens and her team find when they get there is weird. Aboard the human ship is a mentally unstable AI and 10,000 humans in primitive cryo
Mandy McHugh
Aug 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Most of my queue has been thriller and horror lately, but I was really in the mood for a space read, so I was thrilled to be approved for Machine by Elizabeth Bear. With an eerie cover and even spookier blurb, I couldn't wait to dive in.

Dr. Jens and an experienced team are tasked with a recovery mission when a distress call is sent from an archaic Terran ship. Once on board, however, she finds a primitive shipmind AI named Helen, a crew suffering from a mysterious illness, and a Frankenstein-ed
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Other books in the series

White Space (2 books)
  • Ancestral Night (White Space #1)

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