@geoffnelder gives 3 Star #bookreview for “Colony Earth” by Regina Joseph.

This review is from: Colony Earth (The Alterran Legacy Series, Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I am the wrong person to review this book. Why? Because for ethical reasons I’ve been vegan for 40 years and one of the premises of Colony Earth is that a society – the Alterrans – that had successfully seen the immorality of eating sentient fellow creatures can overturn such ideals when faced with a crisis without exploring ethical alternatives first. It’s as if the author is a closet butcher beating a convert-vegetarians-drum. As a teacher of ecosystems I only wish the author had researched those societies on Earth living in high mountainous regions being vegetarian or nearly so for millennia with as much detail as she’d studied ancient history. Nevertheless, I’ll put that behind me and I can find other aspects of the novel to recommend it to lovers of socio-anthropological science fiction.Lil is the commander of an Alterran mission desperate to discover how his people can survive on Earth circa 1000 AD after their own planet became uninhabitable. By chance Alterrans have the same DNA as humans, however, their instructions are to avoid contact a la Star Trek’s Prime Directive only called the Non Interference Directive, which is broken immediately when Lil experimentally takes his guards on a hunt to kill mastodons. This is a source of immense guilt for Lil. They use mind control over ravens and wolves using advanced technology and so again negating their ethics on treating all sentient creatures with equanimity as they did on Alterra. Two humans come into contact with them. One, Alana, a survivor of Atlantis is beautiful. Her people have survival problems with Danish (Viking) marauders and Droods, an interesting (human?) species that can cloak themselves. There’s a lot here. Maybe too much with respect to anthropological conflicts and technology inventions. I’m reminded of those Charles Stross novels (eg Accelerando) where something new is on each page – and that’s a compliment! All stories need conflict and there is plenty here, with teasing and resolution for some. While the story rattles along there is too much head-hopping as the point-of-view changes sometimes within a paragraph: tricky then to engage with a main character for long. Even so, the relationships and environmental issues are explored in an interesting if not always in an ecologically efficient way.
The pace slows when Lil fights with his conscious and when he tells the reader what he discovers in the library, and from his mind ‘teacher’ in long passages that should have been edited to be much tighter. Even so, and notwithstanding the terrible spelling error of Chapter in the Kindle TOC, I can recommend this novel for its treasure trove of ideas and anthropological explorations.

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