Starship Repo is a fast-paced romp through the galaxy from Patrick S. Tomlinson.
Firstname Lastname is a no one with nowhere to go. With a name that is the result of an unfortunate clerical error and destined to be one of the only humans on an alien space station. That is until she sneaks aboard a ship and joins up with a crew of repomen (they are definitely not pirates).
Now she's traveling the galaxy "recovering" ships. What could go wrong?
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This is a fast-paced novel and the motley crew doing the repossessing is an entertaining mix of characters. We have First, the first human many of the beings on Junktion have seen and Loritt who is a community of individual beings that resembles a skinned cat. Sheer identifies as female but has the distinctly male characteristics of her crab-like species, there’s the emotionally vacant Hashin, who pops an anxiety-promoting pill so he can share in a particularly tense moment with the others, and Jrill is a fearsome warrior of an avian species. When you throw them into disaster together, the results are hilarious.
And these are just a few of the wide variety of richly imagined alien species that populate this novel. Some might be faintly familiar, like the crustacean Ish, but others twisted my mind into a pretzel. There are sentient beings that evolved in the clouds of gas giants and super slow, silica-based alien species that called to my mind the pokemon, Torterra. It’s more than just variety though and Tomlinson adds depth in the details.
Much of Starship Repo is tongue in cheek. Some sections read like a collection of Tumblr alien writing prompts, e.g. the discussions of First’s pack-bonding instincts and mentions of multiple species sex fetishes. It’s cool to see these ideas explored in a novel instead of just floating around Pinterest.
Hacking is a skill that comes up in just about every space opera I’ve read lately, with varying levels of plausibility, but few can boast the level of creative thinking First employs. She doesn’t bang her head against firewalls so much as she shimmies through them. While I’m not an expert, it all sounded legit and making hacking fun rather than intense geekery was another plus for me.
There isn’t much meat to this novel, but it entertains all the way. A fun found family, plenty of risky misadventures and one of the wildest, most alluring depictions of multi-species space station communities I’ve ever read make Starship Repo a great light read.
Book provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review