Killing Gravity by Corey J. White
Published by Tor.com Books
Publication Date : May 9th, 2017
Available as eBook & paperback – 176 Pages
Source : Pre-ordered and Purchased
I didn’t have any big plans for reviewing this Tor.com novella but having read it and enjoyed it I thought I’d break it down and actually talk about it. A shorter ‘thoughts on…’ will be available on YouTube tomorrow, but here are the full thoughts.
Killing Gravity opens on Miriam Xi (Mars), floating in the wreckage of a confrontation between herself and another ship. She’s picked up by a salvage crew, a small one, and taken to a station where she should be able to get back on her feet and get another ship. As can be expected things don’t quite go as planned and she ends up back with the crew that picked her up, still looking to get another ship of her own and investigate some clues to her history she’s been given.
This story drops you straight in, little to no explanation to it. From the blurb, the title, and the cover image I had a good guess at what made Miriam stick out and why she was special. But we didn’t actually see her in action, real action till a third of the way through. Once we did it definitely became a ‘suspend your disbelief’ kind of story. This is a straight up popcorn book for your brain, a really fun one. To get a handle on Mars’s abilities think Phoenix from X-Men – but stronger and in space. At one point she’s on a space ship, in a suit, throwing other space ships around. That scene was awesome in a pure action sequence kind of way.
Mars herself is what kind of what I expected, a slightly sassy bad ass lady lead. We have a lot of those now, not that it’s bad, and they can start to look alike in abstract. Mars does have a cooler head than many I’ve read and I loved the relationship she has with Seven (a small cat creature she carries about with her). You can tell she’s used to making it on her own, but she doesn’t bite and claw at everyone. I don’t know that I got a solid grasp on her flaws, though I think perhaps that might come in next entries or on a reread.
The side characters also had that ‘good outline but not enough time’ kind of feeling. I loved the crew of the ship that picks her up. Squid is a gender neutral character that was done great. Mars immediately recognized the style of clothing they wore and from there on nothing else was said but correct pronouns. They were calm and forgiving, but hints at something else hid in the actions. I want a lot more of Squid. Their muscle on the ship, Trix, was probably my favorite. She was definitely the punch first and listen later type. But had an established relationship with Mookie, a deserter from the military, that gave her a little more depth and shots of a different side. Mookie was the only one I didn’t get a good handle on, though with the ending of this story I think we’ll get more on him (no spoilers!).
It’s a pretty simple plot but there is a lot of promise to it. A lot of excellent seeds got planted and as someone who does love her over the top fight sequences and stupidly powerful ladies I’m definitely picking up the next few. For a novella that you can devour in a few hours I say this is a great one to pick up. If you want something fun and fast, give it a shot. I wouldn’t recommend it for a deep read, but it’s very fun.
Cover notes: The artist who created the cover is Tommy Arnold. I have to point this out as the selling point for me was partially this artwork. Having read the story I love the piece even more as I can see Mars in it. The orange and the dark colors are very captivating and the pose, though it looks almost restful, when you think of Mars’s telekinetic abilities really has some great action to it. I really recommend looking at his gallery, he’s done a lot of other excellent covers and does interior illustrations for Subterranean Press. I promise, you’ve seen his work before. It’s lovely.