Tag Archives: Marianne dePierres

dePierres, Marianne: Transformation Space (Sentients of Orion IV) (2010)

Manta ray: Alexander Safonov;  Space crafts: Dale O'Dell/Alamy;  Cover design: www.blacksheep-uk.com
Manta ray: Alexander Safonov;
Space crafts: Dale O’Dell/Alamy;
Cover design: http://www.blacksheep-uk.com

I haven’t really liked the other covers of the series that are like the one above. Nor have I liked the ones similar to the one below. But in the case of Transformation Space both covers have appealed to me. The bottom one is because of the eyes of the main model. In the above cover I love the details that reveal themselves as I review the picture along with the color combination.

Dum, da, rah, dum! The end is here.

 Like this … Nova projected a grave melancholia, a vast emptiness without end that made Mira want to weep.

<you know this? little one?>

We all know. Do you feel it too?

According to answers.com the definition of melancholia is:

Melancholia brings about a form of pessimism that sees the future as blocked and unchangeable. Such pessimism is accompanied by ideas of guilt and unworthiness, which find expression through self-accusation and can even give rise to delusion. …. Mental suffering engenders a continual desire for death.

How far would we be willing to go to get out of our melancholia? At what point does the melancholia cause us to tip over the boundary of no, nos? There are plenty of stories out there about just what happens to people who end up in this valley of bleakness in their attempts to relieve the pain.

The lovely thing about fiction is that the author gets to explore such subjects. The serial Sentients of Orion has explored the issue of how far one particular non-humanesque is willing to go in order to relieve its melancholia. Because its motivations and background is foreign and more or less unknown to us, we only get to see the effects of trying to relieve its pain.

The Sacqr are one of those effects. You know, the Sacqr are seriously bad-ass. Nothing kills them, except maybe something really big stepping on them. Weapons seem to have no effect and their voraciousness has no limit. Even Rast Randall is scared shit-less by them, and Rast does not frighten easily.  Being kept sensory deprived on the Post-Species vessel almost broke her but she pulled through and used her resilience to help keep the three survivors of that trip alive through Sacqr fun:

Jo-Jo’s muscles twitched with an uncontrollable desire to spring at the creature. Attack it before it could find him, surprise and aggression as his weapon. Not crouch here, shitting his pants, waiting for its maw to open and the bone-piercing stamen to extend down and skewer his skull.

Jo-Jo remembered how it was: ‘esque bodies flung across the floor of the food court on Dowl, Sacqr gorging on their body fluids. The adrenaline that had poured through him then now threatened to overcome his self-control, but Randall kept steady pressure on his head, pressing so hard that the pain across the bridge of his nose began to overshadow his fear.

How much garbage do you have to wade through in your life to be able to keep your cool in such a situation? There are people out there who go through similar experiences every day. Syria, Sudan and Eastern Burma spring to mind. Not much fun living there these days and I imagine what they have experienced is close to what the people of Araldis went through as it was invaded. Rast Randall had fought in plenty of conflicts/wars in her capacity as a mercenary leaving her with the tools to possibly survive what the Sacqr had to dish out.

I found myself admiring the inner strength Thales was able to dig up during Transformation Space. When I first got to know him, Thales seemed afraid of his own shadow. Yet by the end of the tale of the Sentients of Orion Thales emerges as a person who has discovered who and what he is and what price he is willing to pay to remain that person. That journey is one we all need to make. Some of us do. Some of us don’t.

Once again Marianne de Pierres caught me in the trap of her words and would not release me until Transformation Space was a done deal.


2011: Aurealis Award for Best Science Fiction Novel for Transformation Space


Reviews:


Transformation Space on Amazon Canada


My review of:

  1. Dark Space
  2. Chaos Space
  3. Mirror Space

Transformation space 1

 

 

dePierres, Marianne: Mirror Space (The Sentients of Orion III) (2009)

mirror space

“Love’s a bitch, ain’t she?”

Not for me, but certainly for Rast Randall and Jo-Jo Rasterovitch who have both fallen for Baronessa Mira Fedor from Araldis. When Mira is captured by the Extropists (nascent humanesques/post-species) Mira shows why Rast and Jo-Jo care so much for her. Resilience is the quality I find most describes the young refugee from Araldis. I’m not certain if resilience is something that most find attractive, but I know that I do. Part of that attraction lies in my own history and perhaps part of it has to do with resilient people radiating some sort of invisible strength. Fighting her fears and going on in spite of the traumas that come her way signifies the kind of courage the young Baronessa has.

Insignia has shown Mira how utterly alien the thought patterns of other creatures can be. Wanton-Poda is about to show her how “evolved” humanesques no longer have much in common with their roots. Indeed, their morals are amoral seen from a Western point of view. Through this, dePierres shows us just how different our own cultures can be in this mix that our global village has become. What one ethnic background considers only proper another might consider sociopathic or paranoid or cruel. Judging others based on our own backgrounds is unwise yet impossible to avoid. Again and again Mira is confronted with the need to reach beyond her own way of thinking. But it ain’t easy!

Tekton is from highly competitive Lostol. Whether the whole population is like him is impossible for me to say, but he and his cousin both seem supremely self-absorbed and willing to do anything to win over the other. Sole (the Entity/God/strange intelligence) knows to use these two qualities against them in its attempt to achieve its own goals. We don’t find out what these goals are until the end of the Sentients of Orion serial (yes, I cheated). As we see in Mirror Space, Tekton learns what being helpless is all about and finds his narcissism challenged. Perhaps there is potential for change in him.

One person who seems to have no hope of changing is Trin Pelligrini. He keeps on insisting that Mira has run off and fights Cass Mulravey for power of the survivors. His ego needs constant stroking, one reason he is so fond of Djeserit. Yet this utter and complete belief in his own superiority might be what the survivors need in order to stay alive.

In fact, characters like Trin Pelligrini, Lancer Farr and Tektor Lostol are fascinating people. I find there is something about deviant fictional characters that makes a story much better. However much I hate it whenever such a person turns up in my own life, they surely make for a deeper understanding of the human psyche. Literature serves this function, along with many others, for me.

One thing that is certain is that Marianne de Pierres has the flow needed to grab hold of me and drag me along in her story. Annoyingly, yet wonderfully, I find myself unable to resist her pull.

Orion star chart
Orion star chart (road map)

Reviews:


Mirror Space on Amazon UK


My review of:

  1. Dark Space
  2. Chaos Space

dePierres, Marianne: Chaos Space (The Sentients of Orion II) (2008)

The Sentients of Orion - Marianne dePierres
Cover art by Wayne Haag

The end of Dark Space has left Mira pregnant, raped by Trin so he could ensure his progeny with a pure-blood noble from Araldis. Rast states it so well

“Women get raped,” said Rast harshly, her pale skin flushed with emotion. “Sometimes in war, sometimes just for the hell of it. That’s what happens.” She gripped Mira’s wrist and pulled her close. Then she hugged her tightly for a long moment.

“We’ll get your world back for you, Baronessa. But tell me something: are you sure you really want it?”

Not only did Trin rape Mira and send her off-planet to get help. While staying behind he makes certain to besmirch Mira’s reputation by claiming that she has run off. For Trin does not want Mira to become more popular than he. After all, that might endanger his own shot at becoming Principe after the war.

War, ambition, greed, death.

Trin is more concerned with saving his men than with saving the population of Araldis. Cass Mulravey sees that he has no clue that if he wishes to rebuild his world, he will need women to bear children. The two of them are at odds through all of Chaos Space. Only Djeserit’s attempts to broker a peace between them keeps them from open dispute. Until Trin has managed to finagle the loyalty of the women who have followed Cass, he has to at least give the appearance of working for the greater good. Perhaps all of this pretending will turn to true behavior eventually???

We find out who Djeserit’s mother is. Oh, dear! Poor girl. None of us choose our own parents, but some of us are left with worse parents than others. Bethany Farr is no ideal mother. She seems to have repented of sending Djeserit off and now wants to save Djeserit and thereby Aldaris. But will Bethany carry through or perhaps only work towards the redemption of her daughter until her next “love” comes along??

Insignia, the biozoon carrying Mira, turns out to have an agenda of its own. The vessel has repeatedly tried to get Mira to understand that it does not care about humanesques in general, only the ones with which it can communicate. When its contract with the Fedor clan runs out in the middle of an escape, Mira fully comes to understand how true and real that is.

Mira is one severely traumatized person who is thrown from one chaotic episode to the next. Needing to make decisions pronto goes against her socialization, and tearing herself loose from that socialization is incredibly painful for her. In Dark Space Mira learned to handle a gun, something that was forbidden to the upper-class women. In Chaos Space she has to learn to see through the fallacies of her traditions. Having worked my way out of fundamentalism, makes it easy for me to relate to what Mira must have gone through. Being brought up in a society where women are taught from a young age that they are less and also taught how to internalize this tradition and accept it as right and proper makes the reach through the fog of indoctrination severely painful and self-actualizing. Mira is forced to grow once she makes the choice to make her way through her fog and grow she does.

Asking for help is more complicated than Mira had thought. Naively, Mira had expected that explaining her planet’s situation to OLOSS would bring OLOSS to the rescue. But OLOSS is concerned with what is in it for them and want to get hold of Insignia so they can study it. Having read something about the history of our own world this concern with profit in the face of aid is nothing new. In fact, I wonder if the need to profit from another person’s tragedy is embedded in the human psyche?

DePierres’ writing is as riveting in Chaos Space as it was in Dark Space. Again I found myself struggling to stop reading.


Reviews:


Chaos Space on Amazon US


My review of Dark Space

dePierres, Marianne: Dark Space (The Sentients of Orion I) (2007)

Dark Space - Marianne de Pierres

Dark Space is the first novel in the four book serial called Sentients of Orion. Orion refers to the stars and sentients are all intelligent humans and non-humans residing there. Among those non-humans we find dePierres’ favorite little creatures, the tardigrades/water bears (called Sacqr by dePierres). Except dePierres’ Sacqr are a bit overgrown and fond of invading mineral-rich Araldis for food in the form of humanesques. We quickly learn that the Sacqr have been brought to Araldis for nefarious reasons.

Baronessa Mira Fedor is our man character. In Dark Space we follow her from the time she is about to graduate and become Pilot First (intuitive able to bond with the biozoon Insignia). Except Mira learns at her graduation ceremony that her ability is to be removed from her because she happens to be a woman. Women on Araldis are only appreciated for their child-bearing ability. Upper class women are not allowed to learn to defend themselves and are socialised into a sex-slave thought pattern from the time of birth. Mira Fedor is not quite at that point when we first meet her, but she is about to learn some pretty harsh lessons about survival and the dangers of such misogyny.

Don Trin Pelligrini is the spoiled, self-absorbed son of the Principe of Araldis. Trin happens to be the one who was supposed to receive Mira’s innate ability. His life until we meet him has consisted of getting what he wants, when he wants it and at whatever cost it may be to others. He, too, is going to learn quite a bit about his real worth to the world he lives in and possibly about his ability to survive. If survive he does.

Jo-Jo Rasterovich, is the first humanesque to meet the “god” Sole. His meeting has become famous and Jo-Jo has assembled quite a fortune due to it. Except something about that first meeting keeps on nagging at Jo-Jo’s consciousness. Why would this “god” wish to be discovered at the time that it was? What really happened that Jo-Jo seems unable to remember?

Tekton, the God-head, from Lostol gets exactly what he asks for in his meeting with Sole. What I have learned from reading extensively about fictional and real lives is that what we think we wish we had, might not actually be what we really want. Greed, ambition and paranoia guide Tekton’s wish. Let’s face it. Giving in to the three of them all too often brings out the worst in ourselves and often in others as well. No reason why dePierres’ Dark Space should be any different in that respect.

There is one thing I found really strange about dePierres’ creation. Humanesques of various origins are able to interbreed, making for interesting variations. I can see how they would be able to have sex in some cases, but breeding seems a bit far-fetched.

My view of the nature of people is pretty bleak, yet for most people alive life is bleak. If you have a roof over your head, a bed to sleep in, enough food and clothing and semi-safety you are better off than 70% of the world’s population. All of this makes it understandable that some of the choices made by the privileged 30% are considered cruel – not to mention the choices of the top 20 or top five % of the world’s population. Trin and Mira drop abruptly from the life of the privileged 1% of their world and join the rest of the people who fight to stay alive. Dark Space is bleak, filled with action and full of people learning to adapt or die. I liked Dark Space and struggled to put it down.


Reviews:


Dark Space on Amazon US