My review of the The Earth Is All That Lasts by Catherine Wells
Welcome to the North American continent after a series of catastrophes, including famine, plague and floods, have destroyed almost all of humanity.
Descendants of the survivors (those who stayed) have created a tribal society in the depopulated American West which lives side by side with an enclave of scientists.
But unknown to all, a spaceship is coming: one with humans on board who care little for the new tribal customs and ways of life. Financed by an influential family settled away from Earth, Homeward Bound is an exploratory ship sent back to see what has become of the home planet, and how best it can be used to further the aims of certain vested interests.
It started off a little slow, it took probably about 50 pages before I really got pulled into the story. There are two story lines running, but the one on earth in the Four Corners area dominates.
The other story line revolving around the Space Colonists, or Others, is quite sparse and seems a little disjointed at times. In fact, the politics of the Others doesn’t really become clear until over halfway through the book. Even then, there are characters (like Dillon and Camilla, and Cincinnati and Chelsea) and that probably could have been dropped completely without affecting the story. In fact, cutting those characters out would likely make for a better story since we aren’t emotionally involved with them and they don’t really contribute anything to the plot other than showing there are people back home waiting for the colonists to return. Either cut them out or expand their roles and show us why we should care about them. The Winthrops and Lujan were the only characters that got developed much.
The dominate storyline that takes place on earth is much better done. I cared about what happened to Coconino and Phoenix. Their relationship reminded me of Brian Boru-Gormlaith from Lion of Ireland by Morgan Llywelyn in that we see they are made for each other, but their past experiences/expectations coupled with a lack of communication keeps them from fulfilling their full potential together. The other characters, such as Juan, Two Moons, Castle Rock, Corn Hair, and The Mother, were well placed for showing the culture of the world in which the story was set, but didn’t have much depth to their being. There wasn’t much emotional connection except to maybe Corn Hair and Castle Rock, so anything that happened (or didn’t) to those other characters didn’t really bother me as I simply didn’t care.
The story took about 50 pages to reel me in, but once it did it moved along at a nice pace and it did some nice world building. Overall I very much liked the story, it just built slowly. I would definitely recommend this for anyone looking for an American Southwest, Native American, or Post-Apocalyptic SF/F story
I was surprised to see that the author was raised in ND, graduating high school and college from here and living several years here after. With it’s small population ND usually does a great job promoting anyone remotely connected to the state, so it was a little surprising that I’d never heard of her. The fact that she’s now living in AZ may have something to do with it, but it’s never stopped other listings popping up for people who barely spent any time here.
The eBook was formatted OK with no obvious spelling or grammar errors. There were some odd line breaks in the middle of words at times, but that was easy enough to overcome. Thanks to Phoenix Pick for offering this as one of their free monthly selections.