In this action-packed space-opera adventure, one disadvantaged hero must ask himself: How do you defeat a galactic empire that can read your every thought?
The Majority always gets what it wants. Thomas Hill just wishes it didn't want him. There's no way to escape a galactic mob of mind readers, no way for him to blend in with his foster family and other average Americans.
Because Thomas invented a way to save his own life. His custom medicine halts the progress of his degenerative neuromuscular disease. Newscasters proclaim him the next Einstein, but mere humans have no idea his bioengineered processing capacity rivals that of a supercomputer. They just think he's smart.
However, there are other bioengineered supergeniuses in the Majority. In fact, it's shepherded by them. Some—such as the teenager known as the Upward Governess—are secretly trying to devise opportunities to break free from social constraints so they can invent weapons of planetary annihilation and become unchallenged masters of all living things.
If Thomas is going to end the utopian tyranny of supergeniuses and their sycophants and slaves, he'll need more than cunning. He'll need social skills. Oh, and power. Lots and lots of power.
It's a good thing his friendly foster sister has befriended a colossal superhuman. Ariock is oblivious to his own dangerous powers and wrongly assumes he's just an overgrown loser. Superhumans like him are doomed to die as entertainment fodder for the Majority—unless Thomas can figure out a way to trick thirty trillion telepaths . . .
Majority is the first book in the sci-fi progression series Torth, written by Abby Goldsmith (originally published on Wattpad and Royal Road) and which was picked to be published by Podium. A novel which is a space opera with some progression elements (which are well blended into the mix), following the adventures of a group of unlikely heroes that have been taken to an alien world where their values and convictions will be tested and challenged.
Thomas, our main character, is a young genius, and thanks to that, he could create a medicine which halts the progress of the degenerative neuromuscular disease he's suffering. While all people consider him really brilliant, nobody can guess his real level. This outstanding intelligence attracts the attention of the Torth, an alien species with a vast intergalactic imperium; in order to get the medicine, they kidnap Thomas and his foster family, apart from another boy and his mother, Ariock, who has grown more than it is known in the human race.
From this moment, this group will be in the Torth hands, being separated, taking Thomas to be a part of the Torth's society, due to his super-genius capabilities; meanwhile, the rest are relegated to a life of slavery, deemed as inferior and having to suffer. Thomas will need to survive and integrate himself into the Majority, the trillions of minds that collectively govern the imperium; and figure the way to trick a hive of telepaths if he wants to save his friends.
Thomas is a really complex character, as he's dealing with many dilemmas once he's a part of the Torth society. He's recognised as a genius, and the credit is given due to his capabilities; being disabled has no importance in Torth's society. For once, he's not judged for it, but appreciated with his brain; but at the same time, in his time as part of the Majority, he slowly loses many of the things that make him human, such as compassion and commiseration for the others; and being under the constant scrutiny of billions of minds is an incredible pressure.
Goldsmith also puts a lot of work in the rest of this group of unlikely heroes, the foster family of Thomas, and Ariock. Ariock, at some points, can be interpreted as a counterpoint to Thomas; he seems to have a simpler mind, only filled with kindness, with a super developed body.
This dynamic takes even more importance once they manage to escape from the city, as Ariock plays a role as that piece that keeps Thomas' humanity in check. In comparison, it's true that sometimes Cherise and Delia might feel plain, as they aren't really developed from the initial assessment.
An aspect that I found to be in a great level is the worldbuilding, even if it might have some small friction points. The Torth's society is organized really peculiarly, partly derived from their telepathy ability; all their minds are connected in the Megacosm, where decisions are taken by majority and attention, and which remembers sometimes to the dynamics brought to us by social media. And while they are really developed technologically, certain qualities that we deem as human have been eliminated from society, considered being inferior; torturing slaves is considered normal and even desirable. Curiously, as they are a society so focused on mind work, their architecture is adapted to physical disabilities, a detail that gains relevance due to Thomas' disease.
They maintain a big number of slaves, who have their own scale of values and society; Torth consider them inferior lives, but the more we are immersed in their culture, we get to know that there is more than we can guess at first sight. Slaves are hopeless, until our group becomes a part of their lives.
Writing is really accessible, with a prose that you can read for hours without effort; especially because the pacing is in a good spot. Despite I can consider some sections to be slow, you never feel it dragging it too much.
Majority is a great start that leaves many questions I hope Goldsmith answers in sub-sequential books (which are written, just waiting to be published) in the Torth series. If you are looking for a space opera with epic scope and some progression elements, give it a try!
Abby Goldsmith has interests in social science fiction, interpersonal power dynamics, free will, peer pressure, cults, hive minds, and odd sociology. Her sci-fi Torth series, originally released on Wattpad and Royal Road with 750,000+ reads, explores these issues on a galactic scale.
Abby’s short works are published in Escape Pod, Writer’s Digest Books, and elsewhere. She is an animator with name credit on Nintendo games, and she lives in Texas with her alpha reader. Come to her website and say hi! She reads a ton and loves interacting with readers.