The cover for An Unkindness of Ghosts
An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon is the pick for my office's Diversity and Inclusion Book Club. I had suggested it because the author is non-binary, and our next meeting is during Pride Month, so it seemed fitting. Beyond that, I went in knowing it was adult science fiction and that's it. Now I know it was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and was shortlisted for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.
An Unkindness of Ghosts is about a generation ship gone wrong--as most tend to do. Aster is a low-deck physician in training who is also black, neurodivergent, and tends to have a fluid gender identity leaning toward feminine. The ship is experiencing black outs, which Aster suspects is related to how her mother died when Aster was a baby. She uses her mother's journals and help from her trusted friends to unravel what has happened in the past to prevent catastrophe in the future.
This book is well known for being beautifully written, and it is very literary compared to other scifi, especially other generation ship novels. It also handles gender, race, and class divisions in a gritty, dark manner. It was sad and believable and a good mirror for our society to look in and ponder what could be going better for us in the real world.
This book was at times too heavy for me to want to keep going. And you know what? No literal ghosts, which I had been anticipating, only metaphorical ghosts. I suppose that confusion is on me, haha.
This book is for you if you love lyrical or literary styles, especially if you want to see it applied to science fiction. If you're a fan of generation ships, this book is on you won't want to miss. However, this is not for you if you don't want to read about sexual assault and rape, multiple forms of abuse, slave labor, and violence. The book tackles these difficult topics well, but I can see it easily triggering difficult memories and emotions.
Have you read An Unkindness of Ghosts? What did you think about it? Let's discuss in the comments!