We’ve just turned the calendar to the next century. Picture Tenembras, a Mars-like landscape with barely sufficient air to breathe and dry as cinders. Here, millions of Earth’s political exiles must endure the sweltering heat and dust, and the tight control of tyrants. Although CO2 threatens to choke the citizen, Colony ships called “Buses’ bring more every few months. Elise, an AWOL from the last Bus, has smuggled friendly, tree-like aliens to Tenembras while outsmarting and outrunning those tyrants. Elise must find a way to show the talented alien Amigos’ worth, to convince people they deserve to live and to survive another day.
Hiding out in the original agricultural domes in cahoots with the Canadian agronomist Alain and police chief Barto, Elise grows a bold plan. Mining is the Amigo’s specialty, so Elise gambles much on having the Amigos mine the vast wasteland for the metal ores Tenembras’ industry desperately needs. We learn ordinary humans can work with the aliens, to the delight of Barto and many ethnic Russians. With her multicultural exile friends, Elise works hard to make the fortune needed to give the Amigos a chance to live in peace; she also by necessity exposes them to more people and increases the risk for all involved.
Author Mary Ellen Wall’s tale of a possible near-future can stand alone though it continues the story begun in The Distant Trees. Here the Amigos TaaTaa and his daughter LeeLaa work with the humans, pulling water from aquifers as well as pulling copper and other metal from the sands. Are they a biological threat or the best friends we could have? Tenembras asks important science-oriented, social and ethical questions in a fast-paced narrative that is sometimes suspenseful, often humorous and always entertaining.
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Published May 8, 2012
by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
Science Fiction & Fantasy, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction.