Remnant Population

I really like going into a book with no expectations, with hardly any idea of what the plot is. Because sometimes a book surprises you. Like Elizabeth Moon’s Remnant Population did with me.

And so it began one day with me scrolling through the Singapore library’s Overdrive collection, the Science Fiction category in particular. I’m not sure why I landed on Remnant Population. Perhaps it was the author’s name. Elizabeth Moon. It just sounded like a pretty awesome name to me – Chinese surnames aren’t exactly very interesting, are they? The title – and the cover art – already suggested that this was some kind of space colony-related work. And yeah, that’s what it is.

So here’s the story, if you care to find out. If you prefer to go in blind, you probably should stop here. Ofelia has lived for over 40 years on this colony planet, the more recent few with her son and daughter-in-law, but now the colonists are to be shipped off after the company loses its franchise. She takes matters into her own hands and hides out in the woods while the evacuation proceeds. Ofelia is glad to be the only human on this planet. But she soon discovers that she’s not alone…

Dum dum DUM!

Well no, it’s not a horror-alien kind of story. Instead, the ‘aliens’ (they are actually indigenous to the planet, but for some reason have never come into contact with the colonists before – perhaps this part of the story is a little bit harder to believe) are intelligent, and are actually kind of endearing. And while Ofelia teaches them things, she learns plenty from them in exchange.

The human-alien interaction is interesting – and occasionally amusing – but what I enjoyed most were the very physicalness of Ofelia’s life on the  planet. I’ve never read a book that made me want to go out into my (rather sad) little backyard (I’m so not a gardener and my 8 plants reflect this) and stand in the sun and wish I had a field full of vegetables plump and ripe for the picking. I wanted to sink my fingers into the earth and inhale that green-ness.

Ah, a girl can dream. And in my case, read plenty.

Title: Remnant Population
Author: Elizabeth Moon (Author’s website)
Published in: 1996
Pages: 336
Bibliography (taken from Wikipedia):
Paksenarrion
The Deed of Paksenarrion Novels

Sheepfarmer’s Daughter (June 1988)
Divided Allegiance (October 1988)
Oath of Gold (January 1989)

“Those Who Walk in Darkness” (March 1990)
The Deed of Paksenarrion (February 1992)
The Deed of Paksenarrion (October 2003)
The Deed of Paksenarrion (January 2010)

The Legacy of Gird Novels

Surrender None (June 1990)
Liar’s Oath (May 1992)

The Legacy of Gird (September 1996)

Paladin’s Legacy Novels

Oath of Fealty (March 2010)—sequel to Oath of Gold
Kings of the North (March 2011)—sequel to Oath of Fealty
Echos of Betrayal (March 2012)—sequel to Kings of the North

Familias Regnant universe

Heris Serrano trilogy
Hunting Party (July 1993)
Sporting Chance (September 1994)
Winning Colors (August 1995)

Heris Serrano (July 2002)
The Serrano Legacy: Omnibus One (December 2006)

Esmay Suiza continuation
Once a Hero (March 1997)
Rules of Engagement (December 1998)

The Serrano Connection: Omnibus Two (September 2007)
The Serrano Connection (October 2008)

Suiza and Serrano
Change of Command (December 1999)
Against the Odds (December 2000)
The Serrano Succession: Omnibus Three (February 2008)

Vatta’s War
Trading in Danger (September 2003)
Marque and Reprisal (September 2004)
Engaging The Enemy (March 2006)
Command Decision (February 2007)
Victory Conditions (February 2008)

The Planet Pirates Series
Sassinak (March 1990)—Anne McCaffrey & Elizabeth Moon
The Death of Sleep (June 1990)—Anne McCaffrey & Jody Lynn Nye
Generation Warriors (February 1991)—Anne McCaffrey & Elizabeth Moon
The Planet Pirates (October 1993)—omnibus edition, McCaffrey, Moon, & Nye

Other novels
Remnant Population (May 1996)
The Speed of Dark (October 2002)

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3 thoughts on “Remnant Population

  1. This is one of my favourite-est books to recommend to readers who think they don’t like science fiction. I think Ofelia is awesome and wish literature was populated with more characters like her (and, yet, I can’t imagine another her).

    I liked The Speed of Dark a great deal, too, but it is completely different, with the exception of it being largely character-driven as well. I’ve had The Deed of Paksenarrion on my TBR list for ages…but…well, maybe I should have bought it in individual volumes…

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  2. You make a good point. I do think that sci-fi has that stigma, and I know a lot of my friends would go, eh, sci-fi? I think I might steal your idea and recommend this to them too.

    I am looking forward to reading more of Elizabeth Moon!

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