Dead Space is one of the better science fiction novels I have read lately. It tells the story of Hester Marley, an investigator for a mining company out in the asteroid belt, although she's basically an indentured servant after suffering a horrific injury that resulted in her being given prosthetic limbs and implants to help her survive. She owes the company a ton of money and had to take a posting in the ass end of nowhere to pay it off. Or to not pay it off anytime soon, as the case may be- if you like science fiction or dystopians with corporations that are awful, this is your jam.
Hester gets a strange message from a friend who ends up dead, and when she goes to investigate the death on the remote asteroid Nimue things start to happen. Nimue is a tiny little outpost with outsized importance to the corporation, and Hester soon ruffles feathers as she investigates. Oh, and did I mention Hester was an AI expert in her previous career? That plays a huge role as this story deals with AI and the implications of such.
In fact, I'll venture to say that this is one of the more impressive AI stories I've read. It's also a locked room murder mystery of sorts, on a very claustrophobic little asteroid base. I could feel the claustrophobia and sense the isolation- the author does a fabulous job evoking just how alien space is. At one point our protagonist realizes maybe she never should have went into space, and that feels very prescient and timely in terms of mankind exploring the solar system and near space. Are we even meant for such a hostile undertaking, one wonders?
The dangers of advanced technology and can we ever trust AI? Can we develop minds that will develop for themselves and be okay with what emerges? Twists and turns aplenty, and while I guessed what the secret of Nimue was, it in no way lessened my enjoyment. In fact, I was hoping she'd go there and was so glad when she did. I don't want to spoil it but suffice to say it's my kind of story.
I will probably grab everything she writes. I liked this so much. In fact, I want sequels and more of these characters. It was moving, timely and gripping all the way along.