Review: Amid the Crowd of Stars by Stephen Leigh

Hi everyone! I’ve decided to start trying to review all the books I read here on this blog. Mostly because rumor has it it’s good to update your website more than once a year, but also because Goodreads can feel a bit confining. This way I can give my thoughts in whatever rambly way I’d like!

Today’s review is of Stephen Leigh’s Amid the Crowd of Stars. I came across this book more or less by chance in my public library. Sadly, my branch of the NYPl is a bit pitifully stocked, and the fantasy section more so–I rarely find anything on my TBR unless I’ve requested it. The good news is that I often stumble across new books and authors.

Amid the Crowd of Stars promises a new take on a familiar sci-fi premise: two groups of humans, the survivors on Earth and a colony they lost touch with centuries ago, now reestablish contact. The flap copy offers up a vision of an ethical and existential exploration of what it means to be human.

I must say I found relatively little of this question explored inside the pages. To me, all of the characters were so clearly human as to render that question a bit absurd. On the other hand, it made for an engaging read. I particularly enjoyed the character of Saoirse. The worldbuilding of both the fictional colony culture and the imagined future-Japan was done sensitively and clearly. Though the book may not have dived into the promised big-picture issues, it was nonetheless an enjoyable take on the first-contact narrative.


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