Goldilocks – Laura Lam

three stars black
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Headline Publishing Group
Pages: 352
Release Date: May 5, 2020

The Earth is in environmental collapse. The future of humanity hangs in the balance. But a team of women are preparing to save it. Even if they’ll need to steal a spaceship to do it.

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.

The team is humanity’s last hope for survival, and Valerie has gathered the best women for the mission: an ace pilot who is one of the only astronauts ever to have gone to Mars; a brilliant engineer tasked with keeping the ship fully operational; and an experienced doctor to keep the crew alive. And then there’s Naomi Lovelace, Valerie’s surrogate daughter and the ship’s botanist, who has been waiting her whole life for an opportunity to step out of Valerie’s shadow and make a difference.

The problem is that they’re not the authorized crew, even if Valerie was the one to fully plan the voyage. When their mission is stolen from them, they steal the ship bound for the new planet.

But when things start going wrong on board, Naomi begins to suspect that someone is concealing a terrible secret — and realizes time for life on Earth may be running out faster than they feared . . .

Goldilocks is a bold and thought-provoking new thriller for readers of The Martian and The Handmaid’s Tale.

I requested Goldilocks because it was described as The Martian meets The Handmaid’s Tale. This is the closest book I’ve read where a description of The Handmaid’s Tale is almost aptly used. Instead, I’d describe this as a female version of The Martian with a sprinkle of The Handmaid’s Tale.

Despite Goldilocks being very much science based, at the heart of the novel are moral and ethical questions. The most prominent being: is it morally acceptable to kill one person to save many? Throughout the novel, the main character is faced with these moral questions over and over as she navigates her future along side the other women. These moments are easily some of the best in the novel.

Lam paints a bleak future as climate change has irreversibly ravaged the planet while a right wing politician has been elected president in the United States of America and has begun to severely restrict women’s rights. The events leading up to the present are incredibly important for readers to understand the characters’ motivations. Unfortunately, Lam doesn’t spend enough time explaining these events or diving into the characters’ motivations for joining this seemingly impossible mission. The justification for their actions is weak at best.

Unfortunately, the characters are underdeveloped. There’s a glimmer of character development, but it’s soon overshadowed by the moral dilemmas and Lam’s weak attempt at world building.

Overall, Goldilocks is a semi successful feminist science fiction story that hits close to home in its speculations about earth’s future. If you’re a fan of credible science based science fiction, Goldilocks is sure to please.

***I received an ARC via Netgalley for an honest review.

Have you read Goldilocks? What did you think?

2 thoughts on “Goldilocks – Laura Lam

  1. I pretty much agree with you. As far as credible, though, there were a couple of things that happened at the end that had me rolling my eyes. But I did love all the science of growing algae in space!

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