Set in the not too distant future Laura Lam’s latest novel begins when Earth is dying and will be unable to sustain life much longer. Ravaged by greed and war, life has been reduced to bare survival for the poor while the rich, male dominated society continues to oppress any who don’t agree with their agenda. Protagonist, Valerie Black, does not agree and sets out to create a new world on the planet Cavendish in the Goldilocks zone. She chooses four strong women: a doctor, an engineer, a pilot and her surrogate daughter, Naomi, a botanist. Together they steal a spaceship and set course for what they hope will be the future hope for mankind.
The team initially bond well together until Naomi starts to suspect that someone is telling lies and the suspicion arises that they have a traitor aboard who has a different plan for the future.
Goldilocks raises both environmental and feminist issues very prevalent in our present times. And, although the action takes place in space, it is predominately a story about the power struggles between the crew – their relationships and what has driven them to volunteer for this mission. Lam describes the silence and the sterile atmosphere onboard the spaceship in such a way as to make the reader yearn for the feel of the wind and the smell of the sea, which are disappearing on Earth faster than the characters realise.
This is not Laura Lam’s first foray into science fiction and she is perhaps most particularly known in the genre for her Radio 2 Book Club selection False Hearts. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in anthologies such as Nasty Women, Solaris Rising 3, Cranky Ladies of History, Scotland in Space and more.
Ultimately, Goldilocks is a very enjoyable read but one that does nothing to make it really stand out from any other book of the same genre.