The Loneliness of Distant Beings by Kate Ling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Seren is part of a multi-generational intergalactic crew, on a mission destined to last as long as her life several times over. The ship is all that she knows and all she’ll ever know. But then she falls in love; dizzy, drunk, but it’s the guy she can’t love and the rules won’t let it happen and they can’t be together, they can’t. Or can they?
An occasionally messy novel, yet oddly appealing, this is a romance story set against the impossible decision of a life that is not yours. Being part of the crew means that Seren is subject to rules and regulations such as who to marry, when to have children, and what jobs she must do. The system needs to keep running. People need to keep playing their part. Ship gotta fly, people gotta crew. When she falls in love with Dom, everything changes. She can’t do what she should – so it’s time for her to do what she shouldn’t.
I liked this; it’s messy and kind of frantically over-written in parts where not much actually happens, and it is ferociously predictable at points, but despite all of that there’s something deeply appealing about Ling’s chaotic, heartfelt prose. This is intense, vivid, selfish love. It’s about holding on when holding on is the last thing you feel like doing. And the premise is delightful, brilliant; how do you live a free life when all the choices have already been made for you? The Loneliness of Distant Beings is the first of a series, I think, so I’ll be back for the future. I’m intrigued. I suspect it’ll settle down and grow into something quite wonderful, because underneath it all, Ling’s prose is a joy and a love story set in space with echoes of The Tempest is something I’ll always sign up for. Give me chaos, and give me predictability, but if you give me heart, then I’m there. Passionate, stubborn, stupid heart.