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In a far-flung capitalistic empire among the stars, generations of colonization without a single contact with an intelligent, non-human species have reduced the colonial process to a franchise system. Amid the abuses of the system which inevitably follow, an old woman decides not to leave when her failed colony is evacuated, thinking the freedom to live alone and die in peace is worth any risk. In this entertaining but suspenseful first-contact novel, Elizabeth Moon's apt depiction of the interaction between old and young plays counterpoint to the interaction between human and alien. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
YA. Failure to become a successful space colony, plus fear of the indigenous non-human population, forces the abandonment of Sims Bancorp Colony. Ofelia, tired of taking orders and too elderly to survive the trip to the next colony, hides until all fellow humans are evacuated. Alone but unafraid, she meets the challenges of survival and eventually befriends the natives who call themselves "The People." Gradually, Ofelia becomes an important member of The People and acts as their diplomatic liaison when a new group of humans return to the planet. Once downtrodden and overlooked, Ofelia rises above her old position to rebuild her self-esteem and redefine herself as she rises to situations calling for her to use her intelligence, emotional fortitude, and abilities. Once she has power, she uses it wisely and justly. The quick pace of the action, the vibrant descriptions, and the quirky aliens and humans will keep readers engrossed in the story. Teens unfamiliar with science fiction will find this as intriguing as those who avidly read the genre.?Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Ofelia is an old woman who decides to stay behind on a colony planet she has called home for half her life when the sponsoring company decides to move the colonists to another world. She is ready for a few years of freedom at the end of her long life. The freedom to wear what she wants, eat what she wants, rise and rest when she wants. She spends a few seasons and about a hundred pages alone. Then she encounters native intelligent life i.e. aliens and Ofelia gets acquainted with them and watches them learn at a marvelous rate that belies her initial impression of their childlike intelligence. Off world powers become aware of the intelligent life and send a group of specialists to study them.
This book was slow moving, but the writing was lovely. For some reason, I really like descriptions of weather and gardening and Moon provides plenty of both along with rather simple arts and crafts of bead painting and clothes making that I rather enjoyed. The story of rising to success and finding oneself highly valued, respected and useful is not new. But I have never read a book where the main character is old and Ofelia offered a refreshing perspective. I enjoyed this book.
To start with, the protagonist, Ofelia, is over 70 years old, and a grandmother. She's not as spry as she was, and not taken seriously by her family or community. Just a "crazy old lady". I can think of very few SF books where the protagonist is that old, unless of course they have some life-extension technology. Ofelia's people do not seriously consider the wants and concerns of an old person. Perhaps our culture doesn't either, if you judge by their (lack of) prominence in fiction.
Ofelia lives in a struggling colony on a far-away planet. She's put her whole life into the colony -- the gardens, the family and friends she has buried there, the labor of a long life. Now the corporate owners of the world and the colony have decided it is "not viable" and they are shipping their employees off to start over on another world. Ofelia decides she won't leave.
The colonists and the corporate masters leave, not too concerned about one missing old lady. Ofelia is alone. Alone means un-fettered by the needs and demands of other people. Un-concerned about what the neighbors will think of what she wears or does. Free to do sensible things which she is very capable of, and also free to make her own artwork and to sit in the sun and dream.
This is the first and perhaps largest joy of the book. It is a personal growth story about someone whose life we might have assumed to be nearly over. Left to go wild, Ofelia blossoms. She is practical and careful, but at the same time her child self is finally set free.
Of course all is not well in paradise for long. Ofelia will be presented with plenty of challenges.Read more ›
At 70, Ofelia is considered to be too old to be of any use to the Colony which had settled on the planet some 40 years earlier, but have now been told to move on. Ofelia knows this, and does not look forward to the move in cryopreservation, which is likely to kill her. As an elderly woman, she is no longer appreciated by her fellow colony, rather - she is a liability.
But Ofelia has her own plans. If she can only convince the colony to leave her behind ... all she wants to do is tend to her garden and be left in peace. No one to tell her what to do. No one to tell her what to wear. No one to chide her. She decides to hide herself when the colony moves out. She knows that they won't look long for an old woman ... and she's right.
Soon, Ofelia learns to set herself free. As the only one remaining on the planet, she can do whatever she wants. There is enough infrastructure left behind by the colony that she can survive for years. So she plants everyones gardens and finally gets to walk around barefoot and hatless.
But then, something unusual happens. One day, as she is at the center, monitoring for storms and writing "real" stories behind the notes on people who dies in the colony, she hears an interchange of humans attempting to land on the planet --- and something goes horribly wrong. Against all Ofelia's expectations and knowledge, the humans are attacked by aliens. Shortly after, strange things start to happen where she is. Doors left open that she was sure she'd closed. Or maybe she was just a crazy old woman after all?Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
My paper copy of this book was wearing out, it has been read many times.
A kindle version will last longer. The kindle version is also easier to carrier.
I read this book for the first time when I was in my forties, and it sang a siren song to me about the need for solitude in the midst of life's hurly-burly. Read morePublished on June 9 2013 by lexie2
Not only was this an increadible novel of self-discovery, finding inner-strength and value of solitude, but it featured a strong, independent Latina woman as the main character. Read morePublished on March 10 2007 by S. Simonetti
I liked this book fully as much as anything else I've read by Elizabeth Moon. Her characters are believeable and well constructed, and her plots don't stretch the bounds of... Read morePublished on July 13 2002 by maemurphy
Remnant Population is a character-based story. It contemplates the nature of radical change, exploring its effects on an aged individual and her physical world. Read morePublished on May 15 2001 by Sharon L. Goodman
This quote by Ann McCaffrey, which appears on the cover, extactly matches my impression of this book. The protagonist is smart, kind and observant. Read morePublished on Jan. 15 2001 by Ronen Friedman
Moon starts off with an unusual premise: an older protagonist who doesn't want to move on -- and who works very hard to avoid being forced to leave. Read morePublished on Dec 9 2000 by Marcia E. Rands
I bought this book full of expectation, and perhaps this has led me to rate it lower than it deserves.
Still, I hate the story. Read more
This is a terrific story, with a character you'll never forget. I love Moon's way with a novel, good science, great adventure, but always, always, with people we care about.Published on April 7 2000 by Louise Marley