the Little Red Reviewer

Acadie by Dave Hutchinson

Posted on: June 10, 2018

Acadie by Dave Hutchinson

published September 2017

where I got it: borrowed from a friend

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Acadie, by Davie Hutchinson, is a surprise package, and I mean that literally.

 

A tiny little novella, sexy space opera cover art, strangely generic back cover copy that seems to describe a story far too large to fit into this tiny book. It feels like something doesn’t quite add up. Of course I needed to learn this book’s secrets!

 

Your immediate enjoyment of Acadie will depend 100% on how you feel about the main character, Duke. Told in first person, if you enjoy Duke’s narrative voice, you will love the story. If you find Duke annoying, you should keep reading anyway.   I liked Duke’s narrative voice right out of the gate – he’s sarcastic, he’s a not scientist surrounded by mad scientists, and he’s resigned to the fact that he can’t avoid meetings forever.

 

With a strong narrative voice, a post-scarcity community,  humorous snark, and truly genius ending, Acadie will scratch your Iain M. Banks itch. Fan of Steven Brust’s Agyar? In a way, this book will scratch that itch too.

 

Duke is the ad-hoc President of a sort-of secret Colony.  A few hundred years ago, a famous geneticists got in all sorts of trouble for doing all sorts of stuff, because she could. Instead of turning herself in, she and her disciples stole a colony ship, and set off for the stars where they’d be safe to continue their generic experiments. The colony has been living quite happily ever since, breeding new Kids with fancy genetics, and recruiting norms with specific skill sets from home space as needed.  Duke is one of those norms, and he was chosen to run the joint because of his management background and his abhorrence for authoritarian leadership.

 

The colony is safe, so long as Earth never finds them. Earth doesn’t seem to care for communities who allow their citizens to play with their own genetics, poke the limits of human abilities, and live a life of their own choosing. So long as you’re not hurting anyone (and no one seems to), you can do whatever you want in The Colony.  Also, why would Earth still care about a few hundred mad scientists who ran away from the Solar System three hundred years ago? Still, the colony has an early alarm system, the dewline, that tells them if anything is flying into their solar system. The dewline picks up a lot of rocks.

 

When the dewline pings, Duke is called to way too many meetings, because this time, it isn’t a rock, it’s a probe from Earth. Should they lie low and let the probe pass through the solar system and hope it doesn’t ping anything? Should they shoot it down? Should they capture it and try to reprogram it? Should they pack up and move somewhere else in the galaxy? What is the best way for the colony to decide? As the President of the place, Duke has the final decision.  Much of the novella is Duke and his friends and advisors discussing their different options and what will work best, thinking about the needs of the colony, and wondering how in the hell Earth could gotten the colonist’s lives and choices so wrong. The story has lots of dialog, it is a fun and very fast read.

 

Like I said at the start, if you like Duke’s narrative voice, you will really, really like Acadie.  If Duke annoys you, keep reading. Dave Hutchinson has the biggest and best surprise in store for you.  And yes, he left you some hints. But you won’t see them, as his sleight of hand has you looking in the absolute opposite direction.   Hutchinson smartly kept this story at novella length, as I don’t believe what he pulled off would have been sustainable if dragged out over hundreds of pages.

 

This book is 100 pages long.  It’s hella fun. The end is absolutely one of the best, most genius space opera endings I have read in the last 5 years. I gotta read me some more Hutchinson!

 

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5 Responses to "Acadie by Dave Hutchinson"

Great review!
I just read Shelter by Hutchinson. It was really good too.

Liked by 1 person

Ooooo, I’m on it. 😀

Liked by 1 person

Have you read his fractured Europe series? It’s great!

Liked by 1 person

Awesome review, I definitely want to read this 😊

Liked by 1 person

This sounds really good, I love a surprise ending!

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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