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TT Linse
The Language of Corpses
TT Linse, author

Adult; Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror; (Market)

The year is 2728, and instantaneous travel is possible by gating from one body to another on any of 300 human-inhabited worlds. On Cecrops, Jazari wants to escape her boss, a crime lord, and figure out why she’s always heard voices in her head. On Corvus, Eala is a scientist studying the mammal-like taktak who wants to understand their telepathic abilities. In the outer reaches of the Sol system, ZD777 wakes from cryo, alone on a frozen asteroid that is about to explode. Chance throws them together, and they have to figure out not only how to save themselves but also a mystery with implications for the future of humankind. Readers of Ann Leckie and James S.A. Corey will enjoy this character-based space opera.
Set in a far-flung galaxy in the far-off future, Linse’s (Deep Down Things) poignant space opera about identity creates an immersive universe that readers can get lost in. Misfit turned cybercriminal Jazari, who hears voices in her head that don’t come from her personal computer, is recruited by Zosi, a rich mobster from the Bsam creche, to bring down a politician on her home planet of Cecrops. She finds love with her co-worker, Dang, another misfit who wants to be a lobbyist. When the mission goes awry and loyalties are broken, Jazari must head out into the vast network of planets to find herself. Eala, a woman who takes care of alien creatures called taktaks on the planet Corvus, is thrust into the middle of an alien war when she is called upon to be a human emissary for the taktak, Tahbi. The entity ZD777 wakes alone on a frozen asteroid its memories lost. When these three lives collide, Jazari, Eala, and ZD777 uncover the secrets to their pasts and the future of the galaxy.

In Linse’s brave new world, instantaneous space travel is made possible through exchanging one’s body for another. Drawing on her background as a computer scientist, she plays with the possibilities of such technologies in elaborate detail. Although these descriptions border on verbose, seasoned speculative fiction readers will appreciate her playfulness and commitment to thinking through the ramifications of her inventions, right down to the pronouns for her “essents”.

Likewise, Linse’s characters are bold and fully realized. Jazari’s quest to find herself and her heated romance with Dang will resonate with readers. Eala’s environmentalist streak and her relationships with the alien taktaks give her undeniable charm, ZD777’s harrowing personal quest to uncover its past is touching and engaging, with surprising scenes like a computer teaching it to master concepts like names and categories. Fans of gritty, character-driven science fiction will find much to love in Linse’s work.

Takeaway: Driven by character and fascinating speculative technology, this space opera will please fans of thoughtful SF.

Great for fans of: Ann Leckie and Charles Stross.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A