Colony by Scott Reeves

Why I Read It: I play way too much of Sid Meier’s Civilization, but really only like the colony phase.

Where I Got It: From the publisher via Audiobook Jukebox (thanks!)

Who I Recommend This To: Those who enjoy short scifi on foreign planets.

Narrator: Martin Scott

Publisher: Self-published (available on Audible.com)

Length: 4 hours 12 minutes

Scott Reeves gave us a tale set in the far future,  where Earth is overpopulated and they have sent shiploads of humans to distant planets to colonize the galaxy. Jorge and Meesha are the last two survivors of a colony that was brutally hit by the natural elements and beasties of the world. They have been awaiting the next shipment of humans, looking forward to building a successful civilization. Once the new guests arrive, it readily becomes apparent that Bannock has designs on leadership of the colony, and not in any democratic sense.  Aria, mutant human with telepathic abilities, is shunned by the new colonists, but will prove to a key player in the new civilization.

Primarily told through Jorge’s voice, the tale starts off with his hope to found a thriving, peaceful civilization on this planet. The previous colonists paid dearly for knowledge of this new world, knowledge Jorge and Meesha mean to put to good use. The swarming, death-dealing insects are the first concern in the landing valley. The colonists must move out of the valley, carrying most of the dropped-off supplies. Straight off, there is tension between Bannock and Jorge, balanced for the reader by a tension between Aria and Jorge of a different sort.

This story was a mix of action and quieter moments intertwined. While the women did not get to take part in the physical action, they were still a key point in the resolution to the tale.  I liked how the native flora and fauna of the new world played into the tale. Bannock’s play for power has been in motion for years, and wasn’t simply something he acted upon once setting down planet-side. This made for a more complex plot, which enjoyed in a short audiobook.

The narration was evenly paced with good distinction between characters. Martin Scott imbued Jorge’s voice and thoughts with anger or fear or relief as the story called for. Occasionally, the break between the end of a chapter and the beginning of the next was incredibly short, throwing me into a slight stutter as my brain had to switch gears quickly.

What I Liked: I have a love of colonization stories and this didn’t let me down; Jorge and Meesha are both level headed survivalists; alien insects and avian creatures; Bannock wasn’t a simple brute.

What I Disliked: The men get to handle the weapons (not the women); the sexual attributes of the ladies are described on occasion but not of the men (Equality: tell me how those muscular hairy thighs made the ladies sigh).

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