Once We Flew by Nikky Lee* is an intriguing sci-fi novella that ponders how we, as humans, survive beyond our coping strategies. On the sand-ridden planet Savene, survivors of a colony-destined space mission struggle to cope in a world not completely suited to human life, and without the support of their failed technology.
Our protagonists are not the first to investigate Savene as a home world. An alien race, visiting the planet long before the crash-landing of the humans, did what they could to life-form the place for future residents even as their own chance at survival disappeared.
The only problem is that their well-meaning alien safety methodology isn’t particularly suited to human life.
Marsa, one of the elders, is called from her chosen hermit-style life by Koby, the son of her old friend. A dying vision, gifted by the crystal ‘curse’ that affected both women, offers hope in the face of futility.
Marsa and Koby race across the sands to find a possible way forward for the entire space-ship-wrecked community.
With a rare gift for narrative, Lee delivers a great deal in this slim, elegant novella. Her characters are instantly likeable, and the reader quickly gets onside with the older, disabled woman (Marsa) who leads the way for young, confused but brave teen Koby. It’s rather nice not to be looking to the east for a hero or a wizard on a white horse. These characters are much more relatable.
For me, this little gem is up there with The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (and the others in the Wayfinders series.) In fact, I’d love Lee to craft some companion novellas to flesh out this world! Please?!
Just released, this is perfect for Christmas! Just saying …
And another thing…
*You might remember Nikky as one of the AWESOME authors who contributed to From the Waste Land! Her story there is amazing too!