But no Atrium story is simple. Dolvia is a broiling cauldron of conflicts and interests, and Brianna's plans and actions send shock waves throughout worlds and lives. Among those are Kelly Osborn, who is of mixed blood and from a disgraced family, and Hershel Henry, an Australian journalist who is new to Dolvia, and gets to see more of Dolvia than he could have imagined. The different perspectives of these individuals who hop between worlds and don't quite feel at home anywhere accumulates into a panoramic view of Dolvia's intricate aspects and contradictions— a place of great blessing and misfortune, of abundance and scarcity, where telepathic lizards thrive and locally born people are ostracized.
Despite the wormholes, space travels, telepathic lizards, and the rest of its fascinating speculative elements, at its core The Body Politic is an anthropological story, committed to the illumination of culture and character. As is her wont, Atrium pays close attention, too, to women's lives. And though the abundance in the narrative can at times be overwhelming, just like a visit to Dolvia, it's also riveting.
Takeaway: Lovers of rich, thoughtful, culture-exploring SF will relish Atrium’s series.
Great for fans of: Ursula K. Le Guin, Sofia Samatar.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-