I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Goldilocks today. I loved the sound of it as soon as I heard about it and was thrilled to have the opportunity to read it ahead of its publication.
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…
The world-building in Goldilocks is superb. Set in the near-future, climate change has ravaged the planet, causing people to flee their homes en masse, seeking refuge wherever they can find it. Coastal cities are under threat from rising sea levels, and seawalls have been built to give some protection from the encroaching waters. What’s terrifying about it is that it’s an entirely plausible future for the planet that may well come to pass if we continue along our current trajectory. Equally horrifying is the knowledge that there are people in this future world who still deny that there’s an issue, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. My only hope is that people do wake up before we get to this stage, as climate change denial is still far too common in our society.
So many still don’t believe the Earth is truly under threat, even with all the evidence in front of them
In the future, you might hope that more progress has been made in the fight for equality, and yet it seems that women are being passed over for promotion and pushed out of their jobs in favour of their male counterparts, once again encouraged to tend to the home and the family – limited to one child unless you’re willing and able to pay the exorbitant fees associated with bringing additional children into an over-populated world. It’s a clear reversal of the progress made so far, and incredibly disappointing to know that it can be undone so easily.
It hadn’t happened in a moment, but a series of moments, as slow and insidious as the melting of the ice caps.
I don’t want to talk about the plot in too much detail – I went in knowing little about the novel beyond the blurb, and so the plot developments took me by surprise in the best possible way. It’s highly entertaining and has all the ups and downs of a thriller, balanced with just the right level of science to explain the how behind it. It begins with Valerie Black and her crew commandeering the Atalanta as the powers that be attempted to replace Valerie, who has spearheaded the mission since its inception, and her carefully selected crew with men at the last possible moment. So begins an extremely enjoyable science fiction thriller with a strong feminist angle, and I’d recommend it to all, even those with no real predilection for novels with science fiction themes.
Goldilocks has been pitched as The Martian meets The Handmaid’s Tale. I always think that it’s bold to compare a novel in this way, particularly with such heavyweights, although in this case it is valid. The comparison to The Martian is clear – it’s set in space and features a botanist amongst the crew of the Atalanta, albeit one who has more than potatoes up her sleeve. There the similarity ends for me – this is a darker tale and one that doesn’t carry the humour of Watney’s musings. The comparison to The Handmaid’s Tale is also apparent, although perhaps less so – this future earth could be a precursor to Gilead with women being gradually shunted out of the workplace, but having not gone quite as far as Atwood’s dystopia, at least not yet. Needless to say, if you enjoyed either of these novels, you should definitely pick up a copy of Goldilocks.
In Goldilocks, Lam has delivered a fantastic novel that is both entertaining as well as a call to arms. It’s a stark warning of the future we could face, although I think that there’s hope that the situation is not yet past the point of no return in either regard.
Goldilocks was published by Wildfire on 30 April and is available to purchase now in hardback and digital formats. Many thanks to the publisher and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the early review copy and the opportunity to take part in the blog tour.
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.
Make sure you check out the other wonderful bloggers taking part in the tour: