Over The Moon, by S.E. Anderson
Ding Dong, the Technowitch is dead.
As an illegal clone of the murdered galactic princess, Dora's face would get her killed the minute she steps off her dull farming moon. She spends her days tinkering with gadgets and gears, with Tau, her kitchen-timer-bot, for company. But when forces close in and threaten her family, her escape attempt lands her deep in the Outer Zone — and on top of the Technowitch of Night, crushing her in the process.
Now a fugitive in two solar systems, Dora's only chance of survival is to find her way to the mysterious Technomage on his Emerald moon. In a place where science has advanced to be indistinguishable from magic, she must accept the help of an unlikely trio: a cryogenically-preserved girl with no memory, an obsolete theme park droid, and a bioengineered beast with a penchant for the dramatic.
As Dora realizes there's more to the princess's death than what the universe has been told, she must choose — save her family, or risk everything to right a centuries-old wrong
My Review (4.5 out of 5 )
Over The Moon is a really fun sci-fi adventure and a retelling of the classic The Wizard of Oz by S.E. Anderson. Despite being a book defined as sci-fi, it could be well classified in that limbo where science-fantasy lies, as we are going to see a really advance universe, where the technology has greatly evolved, becoming at some points indistinguishable from magic.
We are going to be following Dora, a seventeen years old girl who lives in Newsport with her "family", dreaming of being able to assist at University and continue developing herself as a tech expert. But at the same time, if she's living there with her family, is because she was part of the clone batch of the princess, and should have been terminated once the perfect one was selected, being saved by those she considers her family.
Not an idyllic situation, but certainly, if things can go worse, they will. After a series of fortuitous encounters, being discovered as the illegal clone of the princess, she gets kidnapped by a spacecraft with only Tau as company, resulting in the spacecraft landing literally on the North Tecnowitch (adding that on top of an unknown planet). Here's where the big retelling part starts, a crazy adventure where Dora will make friends and enemies, and will discover some secrets about the past of this world.
Retellings are a difficult beast to consider. On one hand, you need to keep enough elements to make the story easy to recognise, but at the same time, it needs original elements. Anderson makes a great job in this aspect, as despite The Wizard of Oz being still there, is something you can appreciate, the whole new layer makes it a really hooking story. The characters are quite unique, even those that land into the archetypes from the original story have their own twist.
During the whole adventure, there are several surprises that keep it fresh. On top of that, the final quarter of the novel opens a new arc that lets us see the real scope of the story told, letting things ready for a sequel. The universe in this novel is vibrant and full of quirky technological elements, that also help to open the debate on certain themes such as clonation and IAs, controversial nowadays.
Over The Moon is an example of how to craft a good retelling, a book that you can pick by its cover and that will keep you hooked until the end, and that will also make you laugh several times. An excellent sci-fi adventure whose sequel can't come soon enough.
S.E. Anderson can’t ever tell you where she’s from. Not because she doesn’t want to, but because it inevitably leads to a confusing conversation where she goes over where she was born (England) where she grew up (France) and where her family is from (USA) and it tends to make things very complicated.
She’s lived pretty much her entire life in the South of France, except for a brief stint where she moved to Washington DC, or the eighty years she spent as a queen of Narnia before coming back home five minutes after she had left. She recently completed her masters of astrophysics and has started her PhD in planetary science.
When she’s not writing, or trying to science, she’s either reading, designing, crafting, or attempting to speak with various woodland creatures in an attempt to get them to do household chores for her. She could also be gaming, or pretending she’s not watching anything on Netflix.