Skye Object 3270a by Linda Nagata

It’s not easy being a teenager in the orbital colony of Silk–especially when all the adults are functionally immortal and anyone under one hundred is considered an adolescent.  To make matters worse, Skye fell to the city in an escape pod when she was just a baby, with no idea who she is, where she’s from, or how long she was drifting in space.

Fortunately, she’s a tough girl with several close friends and a determined spirit.  One way or another, she’ll find out where she’s from–and whether there are any of her people still out there.  

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It combined the best of both science fiction and young adult: likeable teenage characters struggling to find their place in a high-tech alien world.  In particular, I found it fascinating how the widespread nanotech shaped both the society and the universe.

But the story isn’t about the technology, it’s about the characters, their adventures, and the friendships that form between them.  This was what really made the story come alive for me.  There’s a small amount of wish fulfillment, which may or may not be your thing, but overall I found the characters to be both believable and likeable.  It was a lot of fun to watch them grow and learn together.

At times, though, it felt as if the characters weren’t challenged enough.  The friendship and relationship issues were well done, but it wasn’t until the end that they started to have any significant try-fail (or try-almost fail) cycles in their adventures.  Also, while the ending was quite satisfying, it was also a little abrupt.

Those didn’t detract much from the rest of the story, though.  Overall, I thought it was a very satisfying read–the sort of book I wish I’d found when I was twelve or thirteen.  If I wasn’t already hooked on science fiction by that age, I have the feeling that this book would have turned me into a lifelong fan.

As a footnote, I’d like to add that this is EXACTLY the kind of book that indie publishing was made for.  It’s a great story, but the science-fictional setting is so unconventional that most publishers wouldn’t take a chance on it.  Even houses like Tor and Baen are focusing more on sub-genres like urban fantasy and military sf, which both have large, proven readerships.  For something that’s a little more niche or experimental, it’s good to see that there’s still a way to get it out to readers who would love it.

So yeah–if you like young adult books and you’re not turned off by space elevators, nanobots, or alien planets, you should totally try out this book.  I think it will surprise you just how much you enjoy it.

Author: Joe Vasicek

Joe Vasicek is the author of more than twenty science fiction books, including the Star Wanderers and Sons of the Starfarers series. As a young man, he studied Arabic and traveled across the Middle East and the Caucasus. He claims Utah as his home.

2 thoughts on “Skye Object 3270a by Linda Nagata”

  1. This sounds like a good one. If I ever get a Kindle I’ll probably give it a try.

    I’m guessing the dystopia/post-apocalypse setting of YA sci-fi will simmer down eventually, and perhaps then there will be more space setting stories. Though perhaps by then kids will all be reading books on their Kindles and iPhones anyways. =/
    I’d personally like to see some good YA stories that are a little more positive about the future. Like the anime Aria, with Mars terraformed with cities like traditional Venice! Or even like Planetes, for that matter. The story about that girl who grew up on the moon could make a good YA book, for example.

  2. Yeah, I think you’d probably like this story then. It’s about a city on a space elevator, with nanomachines that do everything from keeping people healthy to giving them crazy awesome sentient space suits. The background story of the universe is a little dark–ancient alien ghost ships marauding in deep space, with the main planet rendered virtually uninhabitable by some ancient war. But the story itself isn’t dark at all.

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