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The Stars Are Legion

de Kameron Hurley

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5413233,010 (3.59)30
Somewhere on the outer rim of the universe, a mass of decaying worldships known as the Legion is traveling in the seams between the stars. For generations, a war for control of the Legion has been waged, with no clear resolution. As worlds continue to die, a desperate plan is put into motion. Zan wakes with no memory, prisoner of a people who say they are her family. She is told she is their salvation - the only person capable of boarding the Mokshi, a world-ship with the power to leave the Legion. But Zan's new family is not the only one desperate to gain control of the prized ship. Zan must choose sides in a genocidal campaign that will take her from the edges of the Legion's gravity well to the very belly of the world. Zan will soon learn that she carries the seeds of the Legion's destruction - and its possible salvation.… (mais)
  1. 00
    Harrow the Ninth de Tamsyn Muir (Aquila)
    Aquila: The experience of reading Harrow kept making me think of The Stars are Legion.
  2. 00
    Gideon the Ninth de Tamsyn Muir (aspirit)
    aspirit: More warrior lesbians in space, with more genders and (arguably) less body horror.
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I was a big fan of Hurley’s Bel Dame Apocrypha trilogy, but was put off her later works after failing to finish The Mirror Empire. But she continued to get good notices and this, her first novel for the newly-formed Saga imprint – as of 2017 – is explicitly science fiction. And, yes, okay, so the sf novel after this, The Light Brigade, was shortlisted for the Clarke Award last year and I had a brainfart one day and saw The Stars are Legion for 99p on Kindle and thought it was the Clarke-nominated novel… The Stars are Legion is set aboard an organic starship the size of a small planet which is part of a large fleet. It’s not clear whether they’re moving, or stopped, or where they’re going. The two protagonists have a plan which will allow them to refurbish an abandoned and dying starship which has the unique ability to leave the fleet. One of the protagonists has lost her memory – deliberately, it seems, in order to safeguard the plan. As with Hurley’s other fiction, this is brutal stuff, with a body count that can probably be measured in five figures, if not more. The world-building with all the organic technology is cleverly done. But the novel really comes into its own when Zan – that’s the one who’s lost her memory – is left for dead and dumped down a tube leading to the starship’s lower levels. She has to climb back up, passing through vast internal spaces, each with their own populations and flora and fauna, in order to reach the surface. The battles and various political machinations I found less interesting. Oh, and the book is entirely populated by women. There isn’t a single male character in it, or in, it is implied, the entire fleet. Even though I bought The Stars are Legion by accident, I enjoyed it and thought it a lot better than I’d expected. I think I’ll stay away from The Mirror Empire and its sequels, but I’m now more keen than before to read The Light Brigade. ( )
1 vote iansales | Feb 18, 2021 |
I’m finding it very difficult to start this post for a number of reasons. First off, I don’t want to spoil too much, learning about the world Hurley has created is a great part of this book. But also, I think that revealing some of the plot details may put people off this book, and for the wrong reason. If I tell you that this is a book about soldiers fighting for their survival and their world-ship’s survival, but then add that all the characters are female, some people are probably going to nope out. And in one way that’s their loss, but you can bet they wouldn’t react the same if the only characters in the book were men. Of course that wouldn’t work in this world, on account of a very unusual use for pregnancy and birth in the world-building.

There is also the fact that although gender is an important part of the book it isn’t a reason to read, or not read the book. It is just part of the story. Well, not “just”, it is an integral part of the story.

If you’re worried that a book about women won’t have enough action for you, well, that’s your own preconception that needs addressing right there, and I hate the fact that I’m even mentioning it, but it is something that I’ve read in other places. Women can’t write dark and violent. Well, Hurley proves that they can.

In fact that is the one flaw in this book, in my opinion. It is pretty violent and dark. Grimdark even. And I’m not usually a huge fan of that subgenre. Too much blood and gore and darkness for darkness’ sake. Here, though, it works. The world these characters inhabit is one full of threat and violence and the probability of destruction. Power makes right.

But it isn’t all that dark, and the hints of the wider world where life is continuing, albeit under extreme duress, were a nicely done addition. They didn’t alleviate any of the darkness, but provided characters that weren’t quite so weary as Zan and Jayd.

I think this is possibly my favourite fiction by Hurley, because it has that faintest hints of hope and characters’ who don’t live entirely in a world of darkness and violence. They are, of course, influenced by violence and the world in which they live, they just aren’t quite so grimdark about it all. I need that it of light to really enjoy a book I think. I like to be able to wish a character well, and that can be hard when there is misery upon misery in a book.

In short, this is a really good read, a page-turner that kept me reading “just one more chapter”, full of new and interesting world-building. Give it a go, even if you think it might not be for you, who knows, it might be… ( )
  Fence | Jan 5, 2021 |
“The monsters don't live in the belly of the world like they all say. The monsters live inside of us. We make the monsters.”

The Stars Are Legion no es una lectura agradable, no solo por su estética, donde existen naves planeta que viven y se retroalimentan, de tentáculos y pistolas cefalópodas, de bestias de dientes afiladas, sino también por su historia y sus personajes.
Quizás Zan me ha parecido la más difuminada de todas las personajes, aunque sea la voz principal; las secundarias como Casimir o Das Muni, e incluso Rasida, me han llamado mucho la atención por lo marcada de sus voces y la importancia de cada una de ellas como engranaje dentro de la historia.

Esta es la primera novela de Hurley que leo (no la última, ya que tengo pendiente The Mirror Empire) y me ha gustado mucho. Con una trama de descenso a los infiernos a la superficie, quizás The Stars Are Legion se vuelve un poco previsible hacia el final, pero eso no le quita una originalidad deslumbrante y tentaculosa.

Habrá relectura, seguro. ( )
  essuniz | Jan 2, 2021 |
The Legion is wonderfully fucked up. Things are biological and mostly gross, but that's great because the world(s) come alive thanks to pretty excellent worldbuilding. It was really refreshing to read about a fully biological SF world again and I thought this was by far the strongest aspect of the book. And some of the things the author came up with (e.g. the method for printing spare parts) are ... mind-bending.

What wasn't very fun were the characters. They're every bit as fucked up as the world. But i didn't enjoy them as much. Almost every single character is stuck in a cycle of abuse. And even then I didn't really manage to care about any of them, which was a letdown. The story also didn't really grab me as much as i'd hoped. It's an amnesia fueled adventure story to save the world and the characters finding things they need or lost. It was ok. ( )
  102joa82 | Jan 1, 2021 |
The most interesting part of the novel for me is the world building. The plot of the story is fairly standard, a classic space opera hero’s journey. However, the culture and society of the fleet and the ships is engrossing. The biological technology is not something I have read many examples of before, and is equal parts creepy and amazing. Kameron Hurley has recently become one of my favorite authors. She writes incredibly intricate stories without seeming to just info-dumping the details of her worlds. A common theme I have picked up on across Kameron Hurley’s stories is what are the characters willing to do to survive. It becomes apparent that in her struggle to capture the Mokshi, Zan has chosen to erase her memories as it will provide some benefit. The sister Jayd also must make hard choices to ensure her faction’s survival. She chooses to join her enemies, marrying their psychotic leader, and betrays her sisters in order to ensure her sisters’ survival.

Of the books I have read, Hurley’s writing is very feminist, with female dominant societies. In The Stars Are Legion, however, there are no men at all. (As a funny aside, Kameron had alternate cover jackets printed for her novel with an alternate title, Lesbians In Space, to sell and give out at cons.) Women reproduce whenever the ships need a replacement component, another sister, or even entire new ships. In one section of the novel, a character becomes pregnant and eventually gives birth to a gear. She nurses it and cares for it for several days before it leaves to find its place on the ship. Scenes like this could almost be out of a body horror movie. ( )
  JeremyReads | Dec 22, 2020 |
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Somewhere on the outer rim of the universe, a mass of decaying worldships known as the Legion is traveling in the seams between the stars. For generations, a war for control of the Legion has been waged, with no clear resolution. As worlds continue to die, a desperate plan is put into motion. Zan wakes with no memory, prisoner of a people who say they are her family. She is told she is their salvation - the only person capable of boarding the Mokshi, a world-ship with the power to leave the Legion. But Zan's new family is not the only one desperate to gain control of the prized ship. Zan must choose sides in a genocidal campaign that will take her from the edges of the Legion's gravity well to the very belly of the world. Zan will soon learn that she carries the seeds of the Legion's destruction - and its possible salvation.

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