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About Dark Orbit by Carolyn Ives Gilman

Reports of a strange, new habitable planet have reached the Twenty Planets of human civilization. When a team of scientists is assembled to investigate this world, exoethnologist Sara Callicot is recruited to keep an eye on an unstable crewmate. Thora was once a member of the interplanetary elite, but since her prophetic delusions helped mobilize a revolt on Orem, she’s been banished to the farthest reaches of space, because of the risk that her very presence could revive unrest.

Upon arrival, the team finds an extraordinary crystalline planet, laden with dark matter. Then a crew member is murdered and Thora mysteriously disappears. Thought to be uninhabited, the planet is in fact home to a blind, sentient species whose members navigate their world with a bizarre vocabulary and extrasensory perceptions.

Lost in the deep crevasses of the planet among these people, Thora must battle her demons and learn to comprehend the native inhabitants in order to find her crewmates and warn them of an impending danger. But her most difficult task may lie in persuading the crew that some powers lie beyond the boundaries of science.

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Review of Dark Orbit

If you look at the current state of popular science fiction in movies and TV, dystopia (an imagined state or society in which there is great suffering or injustice, typically one that is totalitarian or post-apocalyptic), is a very hot trend.  To me, dystopian scifi tends to be depressing, so I don’t read it very often.  I really like a lighter mood!  I read an article called Five Books That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity.  The article, by author Kameron Hurley, concentrates on the theory that Humans Can Be Good.  From that article, I picked Dark Orbit by Carolyn Ives Gilman.  I listened to the audiobook nicely narrated Melanie Ewbank.

This most usual book had my imagination going overtime. Adventurous people who ‘transport’ to far off places in the seeming blink of an eye, but who actually bypass many years during the trip. A planet where the physics just don’t agree with what is understood. A group of people who are not blind, but cannot see. And wisdom from unexpected sources.

This is a book I can wholeheartedly recommend to anyone that prefers a happy ending.  This futuristic story of exploration, cooperation and all the surprises that come with humanity, Dark Orbit is sure to both intrigue and uplift the reader.

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