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Book Review: Choosing a Lighthunter

Amahle is a hunter of light, a person who travels from planet to planet across the galaxy to collect and trade with various cultures of Earth’s human diaspora. Due to the effects of distance and the speed of light, a journey of a few years for her can span thousands of years for the inhabitants of each planet. As a result, she becomes the stuff of legends, a near-mythical figure who can bestow great prestige on anyone she trades with. Her craft consists of stories stored on devices that she asks people to wear and pass down through the generations for Amahle to collect on her next visit.

The truth is that the devices collect memories and can be read by anyone. To pass the time between the planets, Amahle listens to the stories. To her surprise, she finds someone in the memories who speaks to her directly, warning her of a major plot against humanity. Amahle is forced to choose: keep doing her job while traveling endlessly, or believe the mysterious stranger and do something to disrupt the conspiracy.

lighter hunter is a short story co-written by Peter F. Hamilton and Gareth L. Powell. Both are accomplished writers on their own. This is their first collaboration. Hamilton is generally known for building a deep and complex world and a civilization spanning story filled with dozens of characters. Powell generally brings a more personal and direct human touch to his stories about individuals and their relationships with technology and artificial intelligence. At 173 pages, it’s not even a quarter of the length of most of Hamilton’s works and about half the length of Powell. Yet, in the small space, they combine nearly every feature of their two works, bringing surprising depth to the universe while keeping it from getting too bogged down in detail.

If science fiction is a new genre for you, this is a good entry point: it’s not long, the heavier concepts are balanced with accessible writing, and gives you a taste of two styles of different writers at the same time.

Steven McCreedy is a Library Technician at the Cambie Branch of the Richmond Public Library