Starship Coda by Eric Brown

PS Publishing, 2016, 35 p.

 Starship Coda cover

As its title implies this, very short at 33 pages, novella is a rounding off of Brown’s four volume Starship series published between 2007 and 2012. In it David Conway’s now settled life on Delta Pavonis IV is disturbed by a message from his ex-wife, Sally – mysteriously delivered in audio only – wanting to meet him. This brings up memories of his dead daughter, which Conway would prefer to have kept submerged.

What at first seems incidental (though one of Brown’s familiar flourishes,) the unveiling of a new interactive art work, this time by Conway’s friend Matt, reflecting a person’s emotions and personality back at them and projecting them as sound to whoever is nearby, helps to divert Conway from his thoughts about the impending encounter with Sally, becomes instrumental in the plot’s unravelling.

Before meeting Sally, Conway is first greeted by her companion, Gideon Antrobus, who claims to have reversed Sally’s ageing. The apparition Conway is then confronted with indeed looks like a young girl. Neither Antrobus nor the girl is quite what they appear on the surface.

As a final send-off to the Starship series Starship Coda is enjoyable – and readable – enough. Brown handles the situation with his usual aplomb. How much it adds to the series is debatable but it certainly doesn’t detract from it.

“Time interval later” count: seven. Plus a ‘Later’ an ‘a few months later’ an ‘A little later,’ and an ‘A while later.’

Pedant’s corner:- “ ‘Here’s goes,’” (Here goes,) “that all was not right” (that not all was right,) Matt Sommers’ (Sommers’s,) “‘You make it sounds as if’” (You make it sound as if’,) aging (ageing,) at worse (at worst.)

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