September 21, 2017 by admin_name
written by Elizabeth Moon
“Remnant Population” is a science fiction novel written by the American writer Elizabeth Moon. The novel was nominates for a Hugo Award in 1997. It´s a story that discusses the problems and obstacles to creating a thriving colony on another planet. Those problems are the backdrop to the story and are the reason why the colony collapsed. The protagonist of the story is a Ofelia Falfurrias. She is a grandmother with one surviving child, (whose name I think was Barto or something), two of her other children died but why don´t know how or why. She is not educated and was probably not well enough prepared for founding a new colony, just like the other colonists because the colony does collapse and is evacuated at trhe start of the story. After the evacuation is when the story begins. An important thing to mention is that this story is quite unique. How many sci-fi novels have an undereducated but smart grandmother protagonist living as a member of a collapsing colony? A collapse due to poor planing and a terrible culture, fostered by the company that invested its resources and the colonists themselves. I loved the originality of this novel. I still don´t understand why this never won a Hugo Award because it´s also so well written.
One of the brilliant parts of this novel is everything that is not said. We can pretty much infer that the colony was badly managed and the colonists were not well enough educated by the way they were treated by the investing company and the rescue party later on and how Ofelia behaves. In the beginnning of the story we learn that the colony was set up by a company called Sims Bancorp Colony to harvest lumber. So maybe the company that financed and set up the colony some 40 years ago thought of the colonists as unskilled workers who were not worth proper investing. when the company evacuates the remaining colonists Ofelia is considered to be obselete because she is too old. So the company treats her as a burden and fines her son for her evacuation. We also learn that she probably wasn´t a very good mother the way she speaks so disparagingly of her only surviving son. In spite of her flaws she is an intelligent woman and a very likeable character. Another reason for the colony failure was how people were not allowed to mention if anything was wrong and were afraid to be accused of being specialists or educated at anything. It seemed to be a place where the colonists were stifled and marginalized. For example, on one occasion some boats were washed away but nobody knew how to build any new ones so they were stuck. Another subtle story detail was how Ofelia said that she could not learn the creature´s language, either because she was too old or not used to disciplined learning. That was strange to me because I expected the protagonist to at least try to learn some parts of the language and not just give up.
This book is brilliant and another thing I loved about it was how the author placed us, the reader, in the shoe´s of the protagonist so well. We really heard and saw and felt eveything Ofelia did. We are able to see why she does what she does and the kind of person she is. I loved her level-headedness.
This book was such an enjoyable read. I can´t recommend it enough. The story is original and the reader must also read between the lines to get a broader picture of things going on. I loved Elizabeth´s Moon´s writing too. The writing is so good. Basically, this has so many of the good elements that make up a great story, one of which is originality. I highly recommend this as a must read because it´s books like this one that keep the science fiction genre from going stale. I wish the Hugo Award judges would realize that.
written by John Appius Quill
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