Major Aren Dalsgaard died on the planet Drass more than a hundred years ago. Or at least that’s what everyone thought. The military had other ideas. They retrieved his body and put him in cryogenic suspension. Now, for reasons never made clear to him, they’ve thawed him out, reversed the poison that killed him, and are sending him back to Drass to investigate a series of settler murders apparently carried out by the ‘goblins’, a race of genetically engineered humans adapted to live on the icy planet.
Nyachung is his tribe’s singer, one of the people charged with remembering and handing down his people’s oral history. He is sent to the human settlement by his tribe to try and find out about the mysterious appearance of black boxes near their winter home, but finds himself accused of being the murderer. The settlers, full of fear and prejudice, are ready to convict him on the slightest of circumstantial evidence. The only one to show him any kindness is a man who can’t possibly be who he says he is.
“Sub Zero” is another well-crafted sci-fi romance from the author of Gravitational Attraction. Set in the same future, when humanity has spread out among the stars, there can be very little doubt about where this story is heading soon after the start. However, it’s a very enjoyable ride that makes getting there all the more fun.
The three main characters are all quite well rounded and three dimensional. The ‘science’, mainly in the form of the genetically engineered Nyachung and his clan, is believable. Of course, you can always argue the practicality of this feature or that cultural evolution, but these are subjective criticisms that you couldn’t really argue about if the underlying theorizations didn’t ring true.
In the end, this is a thoroughly enjoyable romance that happens to say a lot about greed and prejudice.
“Sub Zero” is available from Amazon.