Remnant Population picks up with the recurrent themes of wise aunts, with a strong flavoring of Sheri Tepper in terms of undervalued feminine point of view.
Ofelia is a seventy-year-old woman who decides to stay behind when her home, an agricultural colony world, is deemed an economic failure – the colonists are evacuated almost in refugee status to a new location not of their choice. That does not really do the plot justice – but you can read the back of the book for a better summary 😉
Ofelia is the population-of-one, or so she thinks until the next wave of colonists shows up and is massacred by the previously unnoticed sentient native species on the northern part of the continent.
Left-foot drumming and right-foot drumming – this is one of my favourite alien races, along with the number-counters in Cherryh’s Foreigner, and the ‘make warm we eyes’ in Cyteen.
Anyhow, Ofelia first learns to enjoy her own companionship, then to value how she spends her time. Once she meets the natives, the description of her everyday person approach to first contact is fabulous – both in how it progresses from her point of view as well as these fascinating aliens.
This is Elizabeth Moon’s second best book ever, in my opinion. Speed of Dark is certainly the best, in terms of moving you, making you speculate, and generally drawing you in.