Local Star is a polyamorous space opera with a fast-paced, action-packed adventure that’s sure to punch you in the feels. It follows guttergirl Triz as she saves her hub from invaders from the Cyberbionautic Alliance, all the while negotiating her rekindled romance with Kalo, her ex who’s returned from battle and won’t stop hanging around the wrenchworks.
Triz spent most of her childhood living and working in the gutters of her Hab, deep in space. Life was hard and lonely, and the self-preservation skills she developed are hard ones to shake off, even with the love and dedication of her two partners. “Gons,” or polyamorous relationships, are the norm here, and Triz is in a relationship with Fleet captain Casne and Nantha, a Fleet analyst. They are eager for her to commit long-term to their triad, but despite caring for them more than she ever thought possible, she’s too afraid to say yes.
Triz works for one of Casne’s quadparents in the wrenchworks where she repairs damages spaceships and transports, which is where she encounters Kalo, her ex. Kalo has just returned from fighting the Ceebees, cybernetically enhanced humans in the Cyberbionautic Alliance who have been warring with the Confederated Fleet for years. Casne returns as well, but instead of being welcomed as a hero she’s sent to Justice (aka jail) as a traitor. It’s obvious to Triz that Casne’s being framed, and so she and Kalo hatch a dangerous plan to break her out. Of course, things rapidly spiral out of control, and that’s where the real fun begins.
Aimee Ogden’s novella is a clever idea set in an interesting world. I love that queerness and polyamory are the norm in this Hab. Casne and Kalo could’ve used some more shading, and Nantha, the other person in this gon, barely exists. But Triz is full of depth and complexity, a young woman still trying to find her place, in the Hab and in her own gon. She wants to be loved but isn’t sure how to accept it. She understands herself as a being of limitations instead of figuring out what she can offer with what she has. Her development is very compelling.
I’ve enjoyed Aimee Ogden’s short speculative fiction in the past, so it was nice to see what she could do with a longer format.
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Thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy.