An Unkindness of Ghosts

Paperback, 349 pages

English language

Published Aug. 8, 2017 by Akashic Books.

OCLC Number:

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4 stars (3 reviews)

"Aster has little to offer folks in the way of rebuttal when they call her ogre and freak. She's used to the names; she only wishes there was more truth to them. If she were truly a monster, she'd be powerful enough to tear down the walls around her until nothing remains of her world. Aster lives in the lowdeck slums of the HSS Matilda, a space vessel organized much like the antebellum South. For generations, Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land. On its way, the ship's leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster. Embroiled in a grudge with a brutal overseer, Aster learns there may be a way to improve her lot--if she's willing to sow the seeds of civil war"--Page 4 of cover.

5 editions

fantastical yet realistic

5 stars

the back of the book compares the Matilda to the antebellum southern US, in space, but that's far from being an adequate comparison. instead it seems to me an honest portrayal of a possible future—certainly unlikely or impossible in many respects, but in all important ways uncomfortably truthful.

it's not a cheerful story, but it never drags because of this; it is persistently lively. it doesn't inspire despair: there's always a core of resilience even when hope is scarce.

I look forward to reading more of their work.

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rated it

4 stars


  • Equality
  • Resistance to Government
  • Fiction
  • Racism
  • Interplanetary voyages
  • Slavery