A rebel intent on justice. A lost soul pursued by an infamous bounty hunter. One impossible moral choice…
Tucked away in the remote dunes of Kol 2, the Motes are on the brink of cultural collapse. Razor, a bold and daring pilot, leads a last-ditch gambit against their local oppressors, the Targitians. The plan – abduct visiting Ambassador Keen Draden and use him as a bargaining chip to restore her people’s independence in the Sagittarius Arm. But when the operation unravels, Razor is forced to renegotiate terms with the arrogant diplomat.Light years away on Heroon a radical resistance blossoms. The alluring rainforest planet haunts Keen. All his problems started there during the Patent War, but it’s where Razor’s troubles may find a solution. The moral tide ebbs, exposing an impossible choice that links their futures together more tragically than they ever thought possible.
Goodbye to the Sun: a space opera inspired by the Greek tragedy, Antigone.
Goodbye to the Sun is the initial book in the Wind Tide series, a space opera by Jonathan Nevair. It brings a really interesting proposal, taking the Greek tragedy Antigone and using it as the base for the themes and the structure in this space opera. As somebody who has been in love with classical culture since I was young, and on the other side, a lover of space operas, this seemed like the perfect mix of both passions.
We are transported to the Saggitarius Arm, a galactic area where the wind is, at the same time, an important commodity; and also worshiped as a superior power. The particularities of how some of these planets have been terraformed and the competition for energy have made a dictatorial sort of government arise, meanwhile some rebellion focuses are starting to ignite.
About the story, we are thrown in the middle of an action sequence, and in the same way Keen Darden is forced to keep up with what is happening around him, the reader has to be really attentive to not miss any detail that later will be important in the novel. An important detail that soon will be in our eyes is how this book is rather unusual: it is narrated using a dual view of point, alternating between a 3rd person and a 1st person. And it’s not only the person which changes between these two points of view, but also the general tone, as the 3rd person chapters are more centered on Keen Darden, and how he is trying to cope with the situation that has arisen after being kidnapped by the Motes, his own personal struggles and the evolution during all the process; the 1st person ones are much more intimate, being narrated by Razor, full of opinion and sentiments. While the general pace can suffer a little bit from this particular resource, it’s true that helped so much in building part of the emotional investment you have when you end reading GttS; and I would be lying if I said that without this base, the climax would feel the same.
Another detail I want to stop in is how PTSD is treated in this book, as they are well-placed in the story, and feel realistic; something that is one of the main challenges when writing about this condition. Flashbacks also help us to know more about Keen, one of our main characters; while also contributing to worldbuilding. Talking about worldbuilding, while I enjoyed it, and Nevair did a great job avoiding info dumping, I feel it could have benefited by adding some more pages to the book (GttS is kinda short in comparison with the standard in the genre).
I don’t want to end the review without saying that personally the aspect I most enjoyed about GttS, apart from the subtle references to Antigone using themes, allegories, and narration style, is the building of characters. In the end, GttS is a character-driven story, and probably is the aspect where Nevair totally hit the nails’ head. Keen and Razor are magnifically written, partly helped by using this hybrid POV, and you can actually feel invested in them. Jatti joins later this crew, and even having less character development, it grows into you, and again, all this previous work makes the climax more impacting.
In summary, GttS is an excellent character-driven space opera. While I feel there are some aspects that could have been improved, the final result lands as one of my favourites in the genre. Totally recommended for soft sci-fi fans, and for people who love character-based stories.
Jonathan Nevair is a science fiction writer and the pen name for Dr. Jonathan Wallis, an art historian/Professor of Art History. After two decades of academic teaching and publishing, he finally got up the nerve to write fiction. Jonathan grew up on Long Island, NY but now resides in southeast Pennsylvania with his wife and rambunctious mountain feist, Cricket.