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Remnant Population [Turtleback]

Elizabeth Moon
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 1997
Refusing to leave her only home to board the cryo ships, Ofelia she hides, content to live alone on an abandoned planet, but when new settlers arrive and are slaughtered by unknown stone-age aliens, she takes it upon herself to save the aliens from Earth's wrath.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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From Amazon

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Barbara
This unhurried tale about the freedom and peace of solitude and success in later life is presented as science fiction, but I believe people at any stage of life can relate.
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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual Topic but Insightful Dec 9 2002
By Phome
"Remnant Population" is a beautiful story about an "old woman" whose path of discovery is set in a SF context.
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?
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Most Unusual Book Oct. 21 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Remnant Population by Elizabeth Moon is an unusual book in quite a few ways.
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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars noble savages variation Feb. 18 1997
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I bought this book because I read the first few chapters online and was very intrigued by them. The protagonist, an elderly woman, was interesting and engaging. I had read Deed of Paksenarrion and loved it, though I am less enamored of Moon's other series. This story starts off promisingly, with Ofelia's decision to stay behind and live alone when her colony is evacuated from her planet. Her character changes as she realizes that she is no longer confined by society's expectations, and yet she discovers that she is not immune to the long years of conditioning by society. Ofelia continues to maintain parts of the colony more out of a sense of obligation rather than her need for it. At the same time, she does start to realize that she no longer needs to conform - though it seems that the most significant result for Ofelia of this realization is her ability to wear very little in the way of clothing. I was bothered by the way that time seemed to have no meaning, by which I mean years could pass in a matter of paragraphs and the only way the reader finds out about the passage of time is a later reference. I realize that this type of attitude towards time can be attributed to Ofelia's age or to her solitude existence, but what sticks out is that the narrative also glosses over the years passing.

And then the indigenous people arrive. And Ofelia teaches them her speech and how human technology works - or least as far as her limited understanding allows. And of course, these natives are more noble and intelligent than humans are. This is exemplified by their elevation of Ofelia, who had little to no status in human society - first as a woman and second as an elderly person, to high status within their society.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
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.
Published 9 months ago by Diana Kerr
5.0 out of 5 stars The voice that whispers what you REALLY want.
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 more
Published 14 months ago by lexie2
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong Female Latina Character
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 more
Published on March 10 2007 by S. Simonetti
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun!
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 more
Published on July 13 2002 by maemurphy
5.0 out of 5 stars Everlasting Potential
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 more
Published on May 15 2001 by Sharon L. Goodman
5.0 out of 5 stars "Pure satisfaction from cover to cover"
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 more
Published on Jan. 15 2001 by Ronen Friedman
4.0 out of 5 stars An Unusual premise...
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 more
Published on Dec 9 2000 by Marcia E. Rands
1.0 out of 5 stars Sorry, I hated it.
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
Published on Nov. 24 2000 by Daniel C. Sobral
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite kind of science fiction
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
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, interesting premise.
The concept of an elderly woman purposefully stranding herself on an alien planet as her colony departs forever is brilliant. Read more
Published on Jan. 21 1999
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