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Earth Quarantined*

Long Tale of Secrets, Aliens, and Autonomy

This book takes place over 300 years in the future. Back in 2055, the human race was nearly entirely wiped out by a virus and land was laid to waste. An alien culture came to Earth and offered salvation, but at a price. They could help with the virus and promised to share the secrets of space travel with the Earthlings, but humans would have to live under their rulership. They wouldn’t be allowed to travel in space until the virus was completely eradicated. Some 300 years on now, humans are still living a tightly controlled existence, and as one might expect, we aren’t liking that too much. Also, the aliens still haven’t given us the secrets to space travel.

This book is told in alternating third-person viewpoints of key characters in the story. We first meet Kethryn, who is about to become president of State Seven. For a variety of reasons, she isn’t quite happy with this, but it is a hereditary role in her sector. The author has built a complex world where things are not clear-cut, and nothing should be taken at face value. The aliens are relatively benign for what is typically seen in science fiction, but they have quite a grip on their human subjects. The struggles of the humans for their own autonomy ring true.

This is a long book. It could have perhaps been tightened in places to keep the pacing humming along. That said, I found this unique take on the sci-fi virus trope to be a good read.