Our protagonist in Susan English’s CALLISTO 2.0 is Callisto, a brilliant but lonely physicist in not-so-distant-future California. When she’s introduced, Calli is a shy woman who is frustrated by her work and tenuous relationship with her family. But she is shaken from her rut when a dazzling woman interviews her for the job of a lifetime. We follow Calli to the Moon and beyond as she makes her way to the Shambhala, a lunar orbital lab where her scientific dreams really can come true, because the scientific organization that she will come to know and love is entirely made up of women. In this female utopia, Calli blossoms. Not only is she finally able to fully pursue her true scientific passions, but she finds a whole community of amazing women offering up the love and acceptance she has been longing for her whole life. But the collective is in the crosshairs of those bent on the destruction of what all these women have fought to build and a not-so-chance encounter and romantic rendezvous puts Calli squarely in firing range. Twisted conspiracies, jealous academics, and betrayal will test Calli’s resolve and her place in the community she has come to call home. Amidst the turmoil, she must make choices between her family, her job, and her heart. Will Calli choose to embrace her newfound destiny and become something new… Callisto 2.0?
Susan English shines as a writer when she eschews moralizing about gender psychology and instead expounds on the intricacies of the science that her amazing setting is based on. Fans of hard science fiction will deeply appreciate the care and attention the author has put into conceptualizing and creating the world of 2097 Earth. Ever wanted to know what it might actually be like to live in space? Wonder no more, because English takes readers on a journey outside Earth’s atmosphere that is both utterly fantastical and completely practical. This strange juxtaposition speaks to English’s respect for the reality of space travel, as well as her obvious glee for the subject. And that joy is expressed in her story. Get ready for detailed explanations of the workings of the lunar colony and orbital lab, aquaponics and space permaculture, hilarious zero gravity dinner debacles, as well as Calli’s own pet project – a warp drive engine that can break the barriers to faster than light travel.
Those with an appetite for drama and slice of life will also find plenty to love in CALLISTO 2.0. Because as cool as the science of the story is, it’s the confident women and the relationships they build with one another that are the stars of the show.
A slower paced, emotionally driven, science packed story that gives a glimpse of a glittering and possible future, CALLISTO 2.0 is a female-centric science fiction story that dabbles in socio-political commentary.
~Lauren Napoli for IndieReader