Remnant Population – Elizabeth Moon

Remnant Population
Remnant Population – Elizabeth Moon.
Stars: Four and a half of five.
Spoilerish Summary: For forty years, Colony 3245.12 has been Ofelia’s home. On this planet far away in space and time from the world of her youth, she has lived and loved, weathered the death of her husband, raised her one surviving child, lovingly tended her garden, and grown placidly old. And it is here that she fully expects to finish out her days-until the shifting corporate fortunes of the Sims Bancorp Company dictates that Colony 3245.12 is to be disbanded, its residents shipped off, deep in cryo-sleep, to somewhere new and strange and not of their choosing. But while her fellow colonists grudgingly anticipate a difficult readjustment on some distant world, Ofelia savors the promise of a golden opportunity. Not starting over in the hurly-burly of a new community . . . but closing out her life in blissful solitude, in the place she has no intention of leaving. A population of one. With everything she needs to sustain her, and her independent spirit to buoy her, Ofelia actually does start life over-for the first time on her own terms: free of the demands, the judgments, and the petty tyrannies of others… (from trade paperback)

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.

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  1. Elizabeth Moon – partial bibliography « Bibliophage91's Blog

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