Goldilocks – Laura Lam

A novel about isolation far timelier now than it was when Laura Lam wrote it, full of defiant women and space hijinks. I am thrilled to present my stop on the blog tour for Goldilocks today. Do check out the other stops on the tour to read what my co-bloggers have to say!

Many thanks to Wildfire and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for having me and providing me with an eARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

RELEASE DATE: 30/04/20

STAR RATING: 4/5 ✶

SUMMARY: Ravaged by environmental disaster, greed and oppression, our planet is in crisis. The future of humanity hangs in the balance – and one woman can tip it over.

Despite increasing restrictions on the freedoms of women on Earth, Valerie Black is spearheading the first all-female mission to a planet in the Goldilocks Zone, where conditions are just right for human habitation.

It’s humanity’s last hope for survival, and Naomi, Valerie’s surrogate daughter and the ship’s botanist, has been waiting her whole life for an opportunity like this – to step out of Valerie’s shadow and really make a difference.

But when things start going wrong on the ship, Naomi starts to suspect that someone on board is concealing a terrible secret – and realises time for life on Earth may be running out faster than they feared…

OPINIONS: I did not know much about Goldilocks before I started reading, sucked in by the beautiful cover and wanting to branch out into outer space for a change from COVID-times. Little did I know that Goldilocks would turn out to be an incredibly timely novel dealing with themes of isolation, loneliness and close confinement (yes, I, a supposedly smart person, did not make the connection between social isolation and long-distance space travel). Laura Lam looks at the social dynamics of being cooped up over long periods, and the ensuing change in relationships and developing tensions in a nuanced and poignant way, and it was a treat to look at our current lives from such an estranged perspective.

A group of women hijacking a spaceship set to go to a new planet light years away from Earth, in a society biased against women’s rights, makes for an interesting story in the best of times. Add in intrigue, a dying earth, ethical conundrums and a deathly plague, and you have a story you cannot put down.

Goldilocks was incredibly well written and consistently fast-paced. Although I usually prefer books that are a bit slower, it worked well in this instance, and kept tension high throughout. The details were well-crafted and the characters personable and strongly motivated. It shows that Laura Lam knows what she is doing, and without spoiling anything, I loved the intricacies of the story and the moral dilemmas facing the characters. The one thing that didn’t quite work for me was the framing device – it felt anti-climactic, and unnecessary. I would have preferred it if Naomi’s story could have stood by itself, although to a certain extent the framing shows the greater progress and impact of the story.

Add Goldilocks to your Goodreads here, and order yourself a copy of this excellent novel via The Portal Bookshop, my favourite indie (it’s sold out lots of places, but the lovely folks at Portal Bookshop have secured copies!).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Laura Lam is the author of several science fiction books, including Radio 2 Book Club selection False Hearts. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in anthologies such as Nasty Women, Solaris Rising 3, Cranky Ladies of History, Scotland in Space, and more.

Originally from California, she now lives in Scotland with her husband, and teaches Creative Writing at Edinburgh Napier University.

You can find her on Twitter as @LR_Lam.

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