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We Have Always Been Here

de Lena Nguyen

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17212159,681 (3.27)15
Fiction. Mystery. Science Fiction. HTML:This psychological sci-fi thriller from a debut author follows one doctor who must discover the source of her crew's madness... or risk succumbing to it herself.
Misanthropic psychologist Dr. Grace Park is placed on the Deucalion, a survey ship headed to an icy planet in an unexplored galaxy. Her purpose is to observe the thirteen human crew members aboard the shipall specialists in their own fieldsas they assess the colonization potential of the planet, Eos. But frictions develop as Park befriends the androids of the ship, preferring their company over the baffling complexity of humans, while the rest of the crew treats them with suspicion and even outright hostility.
 
Shortly after landing, the crew finds themselves trapped on the ship by a radiation storm, with no means of communication or escape until it passesand thats when things begin to fall apart. Parks patients are falling prey to waking nightmares of helpless, tongueless insanity. The androids are behaving strangely. There are no windows aboard the ship. Paranoia is closing in, and soon Park is forced to confront the fact that nothingneither her crew, nor their mission, nor the mysterious Eos itselfis as it seems.
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Outer space story enthusiasts may love this one. It's obviously one that a reader is NOT going to be on the fence about. It has a huge space exploration agency, a divided and mostly unhappy crew, and a ship full of uncanny, evil androids that converge on a mysterious planet. Grace Park is one of two psychologists on a ship bound for Eos, to study whether the planet is fit for human colonization. The space agency, buoyed by deteriorating conditions on Earth that have forced people into a life of conscription in exchange for a place on a colonized planet. The agency maintains a tight control over the crew, which means, as we begin to suspect, that Grace might not know what the true mission really is. It’s unlikely that anyone will tell her what’s really going on either. Her crew doesn’t trust her because of her close relationship with the ship’s androids and they believe that she might be a spy for ISF. As the crew arrives at the planet to begin their explorations, they begin to become mysteriously ill and complaining of strange dreams and behaving erratically. Grace wants to learn the truth, but can can't if only the androids are on her side. As Grace's paranoia increases and the androids grow stronger, it becomes increasingly clear that there’s more to the planet than anyone knows or had known, before the mission began, including the company head and ISF. The entire story...a debut novel for this author, is claustrophobic and very dark, full of twisting ship corridors that don't seem to lead anywhere and unreliable characters. We've encountered these elements before, but Lena Nguyen combines them in ways that raise questions about totalitarian systems, environmental destruction, and the true underlying nature of humanity. ( )
  Carol420 | Apr 17, 2024 |
Park is the backup psychologist on a mission to explore a new planet, with a strangely smaller-than-usual complement of humans and a lot of androids. When things start going wrong, she falls back on her greater affinity for androids, but they are acting strangely too. Park is presented as neuroatypical, but nobody ever says anything except how weird and offputting she is, which felt wrong to me—even the corporatized, post-ecopocalyptic hellscape would surely remember the lingo if it can also make androids and use FTL travel. Ultimately I didn’t connect with Park any more than she would have with me. ( )
  rivkat | Apr 11, 2024 |
Almost every statement was either logically or emotionally at odds with every other statement at the start, and nothing was offered that either interested or involved me. ( )
  quondame | Apr 5, 2024 |
A solid 7/10 rounded down to three stars. It felt a little bit like some old-school sci-fi, a little Alien meets McCaffrey's [b:Crystal Singer|653711|Crystal Singer (Crystal Singer, #1)|Anne McCaffrey|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1403186691l/653711._SY75_.jpg|1173956] meets Geordi and Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation. ( )
  xaverie | Apr 3, 2023 |
I'm mixed on this one. It checks a lot of boxes for me -- space horror/philosophical sci-fi with a central mystery surrounding androids, nightmares, and mysterious recordings that indicate greater mysteries. That intrigue fuels the first third of the book.

After that point, though, a lot of the suspense fizzles out as we spend more time exploring the main character -- Park -- and her backstory. While there's plenty of interesting character work in these sections, it undercuts the main story's tension and deviates greatly from Eos's mystery.

In the end, it doesn't come together quite cleanly for me. I've always been one who's willing to suspend disbelief when reading sci-fi and don't need the science elements to make a ton of sense (just a quick glance at some other reviews here indicates I am in the minority in that respect), but the constant shifts between claustrophobic suspense, existential questions of consciousness, and long chunks of backstory made the story feel more disjointed than I think it was intended to be. ( )
1 vote keithlaf | Oct 16, 2022 |
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To my parents, Kimphuong and Dungchi, who journeyed from Vietnam and gave us a future: thank you for helping me become the writer I am. And to my sister, Milla, who has always had my back no matter what, even when my head is in the clouds and I forget to pack pants on our trips together.
And for Jeremy, without whom this book would not have been written; whose endless love and support carries me constantly to new horizons; and who is always ready for the next adventure.
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The day after they landed on the new planet, Park woke to a pair of strong metal arms pinning her down.
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Fiction. Mystery. Science Fiction. HTML:This psychological sci-fi thriller from a debut author follows one doctor who must discover the source of her crew's madness... or risk succumbing to it herself.
Misanthropic psychologist Dr. Grace Park is placed on the Deucalion, a survey ship headed to an icy planet in an unexplored galaxy. Her purpose is to observe the thirteen human crew members aboard the shipall specialists in their own fieldsas they assess the colonization potential of the planet, Eos. But frictions develop as Park befriends the androids of the ship, preferring their company over the baffling complexity of humans, while the rest of the crew treats them with suspicion and even outright hostility.
 
Shortly after landing, the crew finds themselves trapped on the ship by a radiation storm, with no means of communication or escape until it passesand thats when things begin to fall apart. Parks patients are falling prey to waking nightmares of helpless, tongueless insanity. The androids are behaving strangely. There are no windows aboard the ship. Paranoia is closing in, and soon Park is forced to confront the fact that nothingneither her crew, nor their mission, nor the mysterious Eos itselfis as it seems.

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