Local Star

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Pub Date 05 Apr 2021 | Archive Date 15 May 2021

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Description

Local Star is a polyamorous space opera with a fast-paced, action-packed adventure that's sure to punch you in the feels. It follows guttergirl Triz as she saves her hub from invaders from the Cyberbionautic Alliance, all the while negotiating her rekindled romance with Kalo, her ex who's returned from battle and won't stop hanging around the wrenchworks.


Local Star is a polyamorous space opera with a fast-paced, action-packed adventure that's sure to punch you in the feels. It follows guttergirl Triz as she saves her hub from invaders from the...


Advance Praise

“Local Star is a heartfelt, heartwarming polyam romance driven by mystery, intrigue and action, whose grease-stained main character works to repair more than just ships. Ogden assembles a universe of complex people and problems, then drills down to a story about love, family, self-acceptance and forgiveness.” — Valerie Valdes, author of Chilling Effect

“A smart, witty exploration of what it means to be a family, Local Star combines the thoughtful humanism of A Closed and Common Orbit with a delightfully quirky setting reminiscent of the best works of Bruce Sterling. For years now, members of the SFF community have known that Aimee Ogden is a writer who can be counted on to deliver insightful stories packed with beautiful, flowing prose. The day after this book is published, everyone will know.” — Robyn Bennis, author of The Guns Above

“I pick up everything I see with Ogden’s name on it and I am never disappointed! Local Star sits in that lovely intersection of the personal and the operatic, hinting at intergalactic-level conflict while remaining deeply wedded to the life and loves of its heroine — a former guttergirl turned ship mechanic who doesn’t meet a problem she can’t barrel through. Sweet and romantic. Highly recommended!”  — Samantha Mills, short fiction author

“In navigating familial ties amidst a backdrop of war, Triz carves out a space in a queer community that, despite its far-flung location, rings familiar and true. A dazzling tale of interstellar intrigue, Local Star is beautiful contemplation on what it means to be a family.”— Suzanne Walker, co-creator of the Hugo-nominated graphic novel Mooncakes with artist Wendy Xu

“Local Star is a heartfelt, heartwarming polyam romance driven by mystery, intrigue and action, whose grease-stained main character works to repair more than just ships. Ogden assembles a universe of...


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ISBN 9781953736000
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Featured Reviews

This book really delivered the description. It was a very enjoyable and fun read, and the book isn't even out yet but I already want more! I wouldn't say that it's heavy on the sci-fi part and it's definitely more character driven, but there are so many things I loved. I really liked that there's a whole new terminology/vocabulary in the world this takes place in, this is always very lovely to see in SFF. The story is fast-paced and there's a lot of action, but we still learn a lot about the characters (especially the MC) which isn't always the thing with novellas. The characters are loveable and the polyamory plotline was a really wonderful read (and, I think, also very easily relatable). I would absolutely want to read more about all the characters and where they go from here on! The representation is probably what drove this story home for me. Nonbinary identities are, fortunately, becoming more present in books, but characters who use neopronouns aren't that common yet - and while admittedly they were minor/side characters, it was still wonderful to see (as someone who also has neopronouns, it really meant a lot). I haven't read anything else by this author, but I am looking forward to reading more of Ogden's work!

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Thank you to NetGalley and Intersteller! A fun, rollicking beat of polyam relationships in space. The main characters are: Triz, the protagonist, a former guttergirl raised to a more comfortable living, her partner Casne, and her ex Kalo. Set is a queernorm, polyam-norm world, it's extremely refreshing to see both of those concepts used regularly and without shame. One friend of Tris's also uses (at the time of this ARC) e/eir pronouns! There aren't quite couples here, as most relationships have four people, casually called a 'gon (short for polygon). Casne, her wife Nantha, and Triz are in a relationship, and there's frank discussion that even if Triz does not find someone to complete their gon, they're happy with her all the same. It's a beautiful sort of discussion that validates the desire for partners to be loved and to want to see them happy, as well as saying they love her and they'll happily keep her where they're at, no matter if they're a triad, a quad, or a pent. There's also the importance of family bonds: though Triz does not have a family of her own, she's more than accepted into Casne's parents' quadhousehold, who accept her. I might wish that Nantha had more appearances as she's mostly offscreen, though the times Triz considers her are clearly with love. I might wish also that Triz's fear/hatred of body mods was more explained, as it is something that plays a part throughout the book.

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Thank you NetGalley and Interstellar Flight Press for the ARC! Local Star is a queer space romp in a contained sci-fi story. You won’t find a sprawling space opera here, but sometimes you just want those delicious little snippets, and that’s exactly what Local Star has to offer. The real focus of the story here is on relationships, romantic and familial. Our MC is Triz, an orphan guttergirl turned mechanic. She struggles with feeling like she belongs, as part of the crew, as a partner in her polyamorous relationship with Casne and Nantha, and as a member of their family. Despite feeling inferior, when Casne is suddenly accused of orchestrating an attack on a planet, Triz stops at nothing and even accepts the help of her ex Kalo, a hotshot pilot. There is a sort of villain in this story, Rocan, the leader of the Ceebees (The Cyberbionautic Forces, ie cyborgs with voluntary, super human enhancements). I wish we could have spent more time with him because his cause is an interesting one and it brings up interesting discussions, even if his methods aren’t excusable. But that wasn’t the point of this story. Overall, I appreciated that the MC had internal struggles with her own worth and that her relationships were able to support her and help her come to terms with what she did deserve - happiness with her polyamourous quad and as an individual herself. I will be looking forward to more works from Aimee Ogden.

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I enjoyed this author’s queer portrayal of a science fiction world. I found the family a d romantic units completely believable. I also appreciated the portrayal of additional genders and the contrasting tension surrounding the use of body modifications, almost as this world’s phobia. I felt that the book should have been told from Casne’s perspective rather than Triz’s. Caste came across as the stronger character with a more interesting plotline. However, because of the book’s strengths, I would certainly recommend this book and read others by the author.

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I really enjoyed the story and the characters. I did have a little trouble getting into it with the first chapter or two because there is a lot of explanation (learning the world, a lot of characters thrown at you at first and learning the backstory of relationships) but once you get into the thick of the plot it became a page turner. I also enjoyed that the queer relationships was just a normal part of their society. Another thing Aimee did beautifully that I just want to really shine a light on is her metaphors. They felt so true to the world and were really quite clever! I enjoyed them a lot.

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Local Star is one of two novellas coming out in the first half of 2021 by SF/F writer Aimee Ogden, who has seemingly only before written shorter SF/F fiction. It's a stand alone novella (although I really wonder if she's written in this world before) featuring a space opera setting in which polyamory and queerness is utterly normalized, with people living in triads or quads utterly normally. And I enjoyed it quite a bit, as it managed to deal with some serious themes while showing a solid space opera conflict (bad guys and fighting and war) while dealing with interesting themes of love, acceptance and more along the way. Plot Summary: Triz came up from the gutters of her Hab, where she was rescued from the life of miserable poverty by a loving family, the daughter of whom, Casne, is one of the loves of her life. But Casne has a partner and while Casne wants Triz to officially join the two of them in a triad, Triz doesn't want to feel like the third wheel....and wants desperately to find a fourth, so they can all be a loving quad with someone special to call their own. For a time, Triz thought that might've been Kalo, but they broken up for reasons she doesn't quite understand, and he went off to war with Casne. Except now Kalo's back, and everyone's celebrating a great victory....awkwardly for Triz. But when Casne is arrested for alleged war crimes and conspiring with the enemy, Triz will do anything to clear her name. That something will require a greasemonkey from the gutters like Triz to work with her ex and use all her background....if she wants to save the ones she loves, and to find potentially true happiness. Thoughts: Local Star tries to do a lot. You have a space opera plot with a potential mystery (that's obvious from the start, so thankfully it's not really the main focus) with some action sequences. You have a protagonist who is lonely and wants to fit in and has to get over her own self doubt over her origins and others wanting her. You have a protagonist who also has to get over a bit of prejudice - in this case over mechanical augmenting of someone's bodies (a prejudice caused by the fact that the evil bad guys all have them) even as she's comfortable with things like transitioning (a normal part of this world as is the polyamory). And you have a protagonist who is trying to deal with the ex she clearly - to the reader - hasn't quite gotten over, even if she isn't quite sure what drove him away. It's a lot. And here's the thing: Most of it works, such that it all combines to form a really lovely happy ending that made me want more of this world. Yeah the mystery isn't great, and the action sequences are kind of just there, but Triz is a really easy character to like and to want to find a happy ending, and all of her friends/love interests are so lovely and good natured. And everyone comes out happy in the end. Sure this book has a glossary that's almost as long as two chapters of this novella (with some fun quips in the glossary but it still feels extra), but all that did was combine with the rest to make me wish this was a full length novel, not a novella. And well, if that's my biggest complaint about a happy-ending providing story? Well that's not a complaint at all really.

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I know it took me quite a bit to get through this very short book, but that's my fault only - it's been hard to focus on reading, even though Local Star is a very fast-paced, fun novella. Ogden created a very interesting world, with its own technology and culture (especially in the romantic area, with poly relationships being the norm I guess? Since every family and every character seems to be in a relationship with multiple people), that left me wanting more. I really wish this had been longer, just so we could get a bit more details and experiences in it. Triz is a cool protagonist, but I wish we had seen more of her life besides the events happening in the story, and her struggles with being in a relationship and struggling with an ex that's still around. Like, I enjoyed reading about her getting over herself, and doing things all through the space she lives in, but I feel like it lacked a bit of the internal stuff, especially the reasons she likes the people around her, enough to risk huge sacrifices. Since everything is very original and new, I appreciate there was a glossary in the end, explaining once more some tech-related words and all that (even though I only noticed...after I finished the book. So it wasn't very useful.) It's been a while since I read a good scifi book, and this one reminded me of how cool they can be and why I love them so much! I wished it was longer, had some more information and details, but I liked it a lot. I'm excited to read more books by Ogden, now!

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Disclaimer: I would like to thank the author, Aimee Ogden, and publisher, Interstellar Flight Press for kindly providing a review copy of this story. Local Star by Aimee Ogden is an eventful, enjoyable, and fast paced space opera. The author adroitly combines the key characteristics of an adventuresome space tale including sweeping military conflict, ultra-high-tech weapons, military justice, human colonization of space, space stations, and even biotech/bio-mod along with a comfortably complex depiction of a believably real space faring civilization. The reader participates through the viewpoint of Triz who grew up in the practically uninhabitable recycling engine of a space station. Long before the story starts, Triz was rescued by mendicants, but is still dealing with her past in this story as she repairs spaceships in the station's Wrenchworks. The society in Local Star includes a thoughtfully flexible and supportive but creative new family structure that has all of the advantages of an extended family. The story progresses rapidly, as Trix faces everything from personal relationship challenges, to life threatening attacks, military tribunals, and space battles all of which fortunately lead to a very satisfactory conclusion. This adventure was engaging, entertaining, and thoughtful. I look forward to reading more by Aimee Ogden.

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This book is a fantastic, fast-paced, space romp with wonderfully written queer characters. As a polyamorous person, this is the first time I've really seen that kind of representation anywhere and I felt so seen! A fun, quick read.

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Thank you NetGalley and Interstellar Flight Press for the ARC! This was a super fun read! It felt like watching a movie but in a book - while I'm honestly not usually a movie person, this time I appreciated that. In the beginning of the book I couldn't quite figure out who was who (and what everyone's relationships to each other were) or what the structure of the society and the Hab looked like, but as I kept going I eventually figured it out (which is similar to my experience watching movies). This novella felt like it used more of a "show" than a "tell" attitude, which ended up working well once I figured everything out. I enjoyed the adventure of it all! Although I pretty quickly figured out who was shady and who wasn't, the book still took a bunch of surprising turns and I was never bored. I also liked the casual way we got to see the different parts of the Hab, especially the scene where Triz goes to sort through her thoughts in the music-chamber. I loved the different relationships we got to see, even as we didn't necessarily spend a lot of time (in such a short book, how could we?) delving into each super deeply - Triz's relationship with Casne and Casne's quad-parents, Casne's relationship with her quad-parents, everyone's dynamic with Kalo- I felt like each had enough flesh to feel real and dynamic. Triz's development over the course of the book, especially in her self-worth and in taking risks and being brave for the ones she loves, was a journey I enjoyed seeing. I did wish that Nantha's character was more fleshed out, and I missed her presence, whether physically or just via a call or message, in the end especially. Also because I've seen confusion in some reviews, while the MC has two established (poly) f/f relationships at the beginning of the book, the main romance we see on page is between her and her male ex, so if you're specifically not looking for m/f romance, this isn't necessarily your book, but I loved it and absolutely count it as a queer relationship/romance. All in all, this was a fun and engaging book! I loved the queer and trans and poly normative world, and although it could also have gone deeper into this, found the framing of the use of biomods by the Ceebees vs. the Fleet as super interesting. There's definitely an analysis to be made about Ceebees not only destroying environments but also how their beliefs and society play into disability and ableism as exists in our world today - an analysis I won't make myself but am curious about. I think it's also important to note for anyone going in, especially who uses assistive/adaptive tech, that the MC's view on it in the beginning are not representative of the perspective of the book as a story or as a whole. Final thought: can it be space opera if no one gets caught in a garbage shoot? Note: I didn't realize there was such an extensive glossary at the end, and honestly it would be nice if ebooks especially would just have a little note in the beginning if there's a glossary at the end, or have it at the beginning, because when you're not rifling through physical pages you just won't know it's there until you've already finished the book (as I did).

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An enjoyable space romp full of good representation. It felt a little heavy on the jargon -- a common problem in sci fi especially -- but if context ever fails you the glossary can fill in the gaps. A good examination of transhumanism as well.

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Local Star by Aimee Ogden is a wonderful space opera Sci-Fi novel published by Interstellar Flight Press (thank you to them and NetGalley for the ARC!) with gallons of intrigue, sci-fi antics and queerness. The representation is just as fantastic as the fast-paced and joyfully convoluted narrative. The story primarily follows Triz who is a guttergirl (read: a space-mechanic, of sorts) as she is swept into a scandalous and highly volatile plot. She has a girlfriend named Casne and rekindles her relationship with ex-boyfriend Kalo (who is the most interesting character, in my opinion, and is very fleshed out as the novel progresses), with the three of them forming a polyamorous triad. Ogden wonderfully explores how polyamorous family units operate through the use of supporting characters and background details, normalising this entirely in a Sci-fi setting. The concepts of quad-families and platonic families are explored in such a great and casual way. My only complaint with this novel was the depth of the world-building with very little time for the reader to adjust or really learn what anything meant before being given yet more information. The first chapters especially were a little hard to get into due to this and I felt like I had to keep flicking back a few pages as to know what was happening or who was where. Ultimately, if you love space operas, drama, crime and queer families then this is the perfect book for you!

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A quick read that was a fun space tale with some lgbq relationships that were just part of the story and not forced in any way. They relationships were just there and the society around them was well developed. The story seemed to lean towards a trope or two only to to a quick turn and run off in another fun direction. A fun lite snack of a book.

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3.5⭐️ – This was a fun and quick read. The plot is pretty basic. On a three-day leave after a huge victory in the war against the Cyberbionautic Alliance, Casne is planning to celebrate with her best friend and partner Triz. Yet, instead of being honoured as the hero she is, Casne is accused of war crimes, with evidence Triz and Kalo – another Fleet pilot, Triz’s ex and Casne’s sometimes – are convinced is fake. Even though Local Star is a novella, the worldbuilding is rather extensive and it only took a couple of sentences for me to feel transported to a different universe. The story is centred around Triz, a guttergirl turned mechanic who is still not sure she really fits in her own life, with Casne and Kalo never too far. Triz has been asked to join Casne and her wife Nantha’s marriage and while she loves them both, she’s not ready to make it official. Her reluctance results from her insecurities but mainly from not wanting to be the third in a triad: she’d rather join with another partner. Whether Kalo will be the one or not remains to be seen, but he’s clearly interested in giving their relationship a second chance. Around them are a couple more Fleet officers as well as Casne’s quadparents (some male, some female, some non-binary), one of whom is a bit quick to believe his daughter could be guilty. Besides the world-building, the best part of this story is how normal and self-evident polyamory is. Triz’s interrogations are valid, especially given her background. She struggles with what her place would be in a marriage to Casne and Nan just as much as she struggles with her place in Casne’s family, who more or less took her in when she was rescued from an impossibly rough childhood. The only time she’s really comfortable is when she’s working on a ship. As usual, I focus on the characters and their motivations, as much as I can without spoiling, but there are many other layers to this story. The Cyberbionautic Alliance, for example, questions transhumanism. Triz’s insecurities and her relationships with Kalo and Casne speak of self-acceptance, growth and forgiveness. This novella is a lot more complex than what the cover and the plot hint at. Complex but fun. I received a copy from the publisher and I am voluntarily leaving a review.

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Thank you to Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. I loved this little space opera novella so much!! Triz is a guttergirl who lives in the wrenchworks. When her partner, Casne, comes back from a victorious battle, she thinks things are looking up. Then invaders attack the hub and Casne is framed for committing treason. Triz doesn't know what to do and the only person willing to help her is Kalo, her ex. This was so much freaking fun! I enjoyed every second of this book. The normalized polyamory made me so happy. I want my own triad or quadfamily to just have giant group hugs all the time. Once the action starts going it doesn't start with this book. Full of thrills and cute ships, I highly recommend this book!

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This was a fun, super queer and family oriented novella! I really liked it even though some of the space terms and fancy tech stuff went over my head. It was still relatively easy to digest. The characters were the highlight of this book for me. We follow Triz as she deals with the fact that her girlfriend has gotten arrested for something she knows she did not do but she has to embark on this mission to prove this to the authorities. This lands her with her ex and they end up having to work together to prove that she’s innocent and root out who is actually the bad guy. The queer rep in this book was fantastic. I loved the use of characters with different pronouns, the poly aspects too were super interesting. In this world, it’s common, almost needed that people end up in triads or in fours. There’s no homophobia or any of the like which was nice to see. Sometimes, you just need a good, scifi filled book that is filled to the tits with great queer characters and that is exactly what this is. This was a good time! I’d definitely check out more work by Aimee in the future! 4/5 ⭐️ TW: violence, blood, death.

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I received a free advanced reader copy through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. So I wasn't really convinced by the sketchy type cover art, but the blurb really got me. And the novella does deliver. It's short, maybe a bit too short in places, but it certainly delivers in action. I especially liked how the scene was set, with this queernorm space station where poly is normal, nonbinary folk go round using neopronouns and being part of said poly families, and where the space station provides you with food and lodgings even if you're out of a job. The perfect queer utopia! The main character was interesting in that she had a bit of an outsider complex and really couldn't believe she could be part of any family, so it was nice seeing her go through that. I thought her relationship/"rekindled romance" as the summary puts it, with the male love interest was a bit rushed, and I'd have appreciated if the author took a bit more time there, but at the same time it wasn't really the focus. What was, instead, was Triz's work to exonerate her girlfriend/partner from the ridiculous charges against her, and in the process run up and down a station that's shutting down, and trying to catch up a convict and actual war criminal. There was clearly a lot of worldbuilding that went into this and got me intrigued about the whole universe Ogden built there. I wouldn't mind reading more of Triz's, Casne's and Kalo's adventures, or even another polycule's in the same universe. There's lots more I want to see, but this was a good self contained first look into that universe, and it felt a lot like watching an episode of a star trek show in the way it all neatly resolves. Very satisfying to read, both because of just how queer it was, and for the adventure it took me on!

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Triz is a girl from humble beginnings who won the heart of Casne, a girl from a good family and a war hero too. And when Casne is in trouble, only Triz can help her. Although space opera is not my favourite genre, I really enjoyed this one. The plot is simple, good guys versus bad guys, but the action is breathtaking and I really liked the world building.

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The worldbuilding in this story could have been a little more developed. At first, it felt as if I was missing so much information needed to connect with the characters and understand how their world functioned. This feeling did lessen as I continued reading, but I was still wishing for more background info about the characters and their relationships! If only this book had been a little longer to give us more time to get to know them. For those just starting to read Local Star, make sure to flip to the back of your copy to read the Glossary. I had no idea it was there until I finished the story, which probably only exacerbated my beginning confusion. That being said, I did really enjoy reading about Triz's adventure, which I won't say too much about since the story is quite short and fast-paced so I don't want to give anything away! Kalo was just kind of meh, though. This book is so heavily marketed for its polyamory, and I wish we could have seen more of their relationship rather than so much of a m/f relationship, especially since we didn't know or really care about Kalo all that much. I did love the casually queer environment! This was a fun read! Lovers of sci-fi, especially Everina Maxwell's Winter's Orbit, should pick up this story!

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Using the phrase “polyamorous space opera” and hinting at cyborg-adjacent stuff in the synopsis may as well be a magic phrase to summon me instantly. Local Star by Aimee Ogden gives us a familiar plot with a few fresh takes, particularly the diversity, and as a fan of queer space opera, it was like a well-done comfort meal: not particularly surprising, but still incredibly delicious. This novella follows mechanic Triz, whose partner Casne comes back from the space battlefront as a war hero; almost immediately, local officials detain her for an alleged treasonous act in said war. The only person who takes Triz’s worry about this turn of events seriously is a pilot named Kalo—who is, of course, both Triz’s ex and a metamour of Casne. There’s action aplenty, there’s great character banter, and the story progresses at a steady and appropriate pace. As a fan of sci-fi, this novella was such a treat, and I appreciated the blend of plot and character driving forces. There are some larger questions about transhumanism tackled at points, particularly in regards to Triz’s prejudice against augmented humans that make up the opposing force in the war. Other reviewers have mentioned this novella not being ‘queer enough’, to which I wonder if I received the wrong eARC file by mistake. Triz is bi/pan/mspec, as is her female partner Casne—the novella starts by establishing Triz and Casne’s relationship. Casne also has a wife named Nantha who is transgender. And of course, Kalo has been involved with both Triz and Casne. While it’s true that a large bulk of the plot involves Triz and Kalo working together to navigate the challenges they face within the novella, I feel it’s blatant misrepresentation (and bi erasure) to say this novella isn’t queer because one M/F relationship gets a lot of attention; this is especially true since the polyamorous nature of the relationship structures within this novella are referenced multiple times and provide context for character arcs within. Overall, Local Star was a highly entertaining queer space opera treat. This was totally my brand and I finished it in one delightful setting. Between this and Aimee Ogden’s other novella, Sun-Daughters, Sea-Daughters, she has become one of my authors to watch out for. Thank you to Interstellar Flight Press and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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This is my first book by Aimee Ogden and it certainly won't be my last! Local Star follows Triz who, at the start of the novella, is witness to her partner being dragged off by justice officials to stand trial for war crimes, but her partner is adamant that she didn't commit these crimes. What intrigued me about this book was the fact that it's sci-fi that focusses around a polyamorous triad and, although I don't read a lot of sci-fi, I was definitely not disappointed! Triz grew up having nothing and although she was taken in by her partner's family, she still feels very much on the outside of their dynamic. She's a mechanic on the hub that she calls home and I loved how much detail was shown about her work. The interpersonal relationships were also done really well, between Triz and her partner Casne, Triz and her ex Kalo, Triz and Casne's family, and all the side characters, too! For being such a short book, so much was packed into the 170-odd pages and it really felt like the perfect length! I also adored how normal polyamorous relationships and families, as well as the frequent use of neopronouns, are in this book - it was such a joy to read! My only reason for taking a star off the rating is that I felt, particularly at the start but also throughout the entire book, that I was missing so much background information. Although I said that the book is the perfect length, I wouldn't have been mad if there was more explanation of the 'jargon' used throughout. Though there is a glossary of sorts at the end of the book that explains these words, I read the book on my Kindle and really was not aware of it being there until I had finished, so I would have much preferred that the information be developed throughout the prose. All in all, though, I highly recommend this novella!

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As with most of my book choices lately, I picked this up solely based on the cover. It’s an enjoyable and quickly-paced scifi romance novella. After a decisive win against the Cyberbionautic Alliance, Triz is excited to go party with her newly-returned-from-the-war partner Casne – after she finishes up taking a look at her fighter pilot ex’s seriously smashed up ship. It doesn’t help that Kalo seems more interested in hanging around chatting with her than joining the party. But when Casne is arrested for treason, Triz must work with Kalo to figure out who framed her – and stop them from taking over the hab. “Some people were suns, some were moons, and some were just rocks who soaked up others’ light and warmth. Triz was not a sun.” The novella is told solely from Triz’s point of view, and a lot of it revolves around Triz feeling unworthy. She grew up in the bowels of a hab, scrounging for food scraps and bits of discarded trash to sell. She’s made a place for herself as a mechanic, and while most of Casne’s family has accepted her, she still feels separate and struggles with her self-worth. While Casne and her wife have invited her to join their gon (what the book calls their poly relationships), Triz struggles with worrying about how she’ll fit in, and she’s reluctant to join without bringing someone else to the triad. Polyamory is completely accepted in their society, and Casne herself comes from a quad poly family. Casne actually introduced Kalo, a fighter pilot, to Triz – and is still sometimes involved with him – but Triz couldn’t deal with how dangerous his job is. Her feelings for him are complicated and all tied up with feeling like she doesn’t truly belong, especially since she’s not part of the Fleet. For such a small novella, there’s a lot going on plotwise. There’s Triz’s understandable feelings of inadequacy, exacerbated by one of Casne’s quadparents, who seems perfectly willing to believe Casne is a traitor. Plus, there’s the romance angle with navigating her feelings for Casne and Kalo. The part I didn’t think worked was a minor thread where Triz is extremely prejudiced against any type of body mods, basically assuming anyone with mods would support the (unmitigatedly awful) Cyberbionautic Alliance. I didn’t quite understand where those feelings came from or why she felt so strongly about it, though I felt her change of view was handled well. I also wish there had been more time to explore the dynamics of Triz and Kalo and then Triz, Kalo and Casne as a triad. I did love the whole clear-Casne’s-name plot, though, and the pacing was nice and snappy. It made it very easy to read this in one sitting (and then wish there was more!). Overall, this is an action-packed read, and I really hope the author choses to revisit this setting in the future! I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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Ugh the characters and relationships in this are so cute and swoon-worthy. I just... I would die for this crew and do ANYTHING to protect them. This is more or less a character story about relationships that uses sci-fi elements to push the narrative forward. You will laugh, you will cry... you will want to FIGHT some of these baddies just to protect and save the crew.

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3.5 stars - rounded up for casual queernormativity AND the normalization of polyamory in a functional, practical, and totally believable way. I feel like we didn't get quite enough of the events surrounding our main plot. It felt kind of like a bigger problem appeared out of nowhere that just happened to align with what our characters were already doing. I also wanted quite a bit more of Triz confronting her anti-mod prejudice - it comes up like twice with Triz getting shot down for it but not really internalizing why her prejudice is wrong. It felt like we were supposed to get a novel but a lot of the extra weight was stripped away. That being said, I would 100% read that novel, returning to this world and these characters and even this conflict. I felt like we ended a chapter rather than the whole book. Though I guess that is often the problem with novellas. Basically: badass queer military scifi novella where the main character isn't actually in the military and isn't secretly an amazing fighter - instead using ingenuity, the experiences of her sordid past, and an unlikely ally to save the day. Without compromising her character for the sake of heroics.

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This was a fun, queer adventure. I liked that polyamorous relationships were the norm in society - this made for more complex and interesting relationships. Some of the sci-fi terms were a lot to get your head around, so it would have been to good to have the glossary at the beginning so I’d known it was there.

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*I received an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.* Local Star is a fast-paced sci-fi novella that I had such a fun time reading! Ogden is really able to pack the world-building in (and provides a glossary at the back, which was quite helpful). Set in the middle of a galactic war between the Cyberbionautic Alliance (Ceebees) and the Confederated Worlds, Triz is a mechanic with a lot of self-worth issues and fear of open space. She's hoping to spend the weekend celebrating with her partner, Casne, but her plans are spoiled when Casne, a pilot, is accused of war crimes and Triz has to partner with her ex, Kalo, to help clear her name. I thought the three main characters were well fleshed out and I loved to see their interactions with each other. I loved exploring Triz's background and how that impacted her self-worth and her relationships with Casne (and Casne's quad parents) and Kalo. That being said, it never felt like there were real stakes with Casne's arrest because it was so unbelievable that she was guilty, which made it a little confusing that one of her quadparents was so quick to believe that she was guilty. I loved the casual lack of heteronormativity and the use of genderless pronouns in this world, but I think I was expecting a bit more on the polyamory side. As a whole though, I thought this novella was a fun time and I would definitely read more set in this world if Ogden writes it!

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Amazing job! First and foremost, I was so happy to find a book with poly representation and Ogden delivered! I'm not always a big science fiction reader but luckily for me the book was much more character-driven. The story itself was great, featuring all the fun drama without the unnecessary overly-complex relationships. It was fast-paced and really easy to pick-up. I also really liked the world-building, as it values interest over societal commentary, which you don't see a lot in Sci-fi. The inner-conflict was a great addition, and the combination of personal and military struggles was surprisingly well done! Really great job to Ogden and Interstellar!

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