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Spooky Action at a Distance

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Loved it! 😍

Chiricahua Apache lieutenant Naiche Decker returns in this exciting space quest about a quantum entanglement, odd aliens, and old enemies.

Lovers of character-driven science fiction romps in space rejoice: Naiche Decker, a rebellious Chiricahua Apache lieutenant aboard the UDC starship Lovelace, returns in Felicia Watson's Spooky Action at a Distance (Lovelace Series #2) for a brand-new adventure about a quantum entanglement and an old antagonist from Decker's school days. Also along for the ride are Decker's human best friend, Lieutenant Commander Conroy Kennedy, her canine best friend, Corpsman Third Class Kayatennae, and her father, Captain Matteo Ricci. Will Decker and Ricci be able to work together--not only as crew, but also as family--in order to pull off a perilous search and rescue mission?


The Lovelace crew must tackle the Okeke Phenomenon: a quantum entanglement, where the space-time field is constantly changing, also referred to as The Expanse. The Burnell, a scientific vessel sent to explore the region, is missing, along with the first deployed rescue ship, the Meitner. A third rescue ship, the Daleko, seemingly suffered a mysterious attack, despite being equipped with a Quantum-Navigation System (QNS)--a neural link between a port behind the pilot's ear and a quantum-computing assisted navigation drive. The Lovelace will bring the QNS-equipped vessel the Cerxai to The Expanse and aid efforts to find and guide the lost ships to safety. Of course, that means a pilot with a QNS port has to come along for the ride. That pilot is none other than Lieutenant Commander Talako Jacoway--a rival who Decker has disliked for a long time. Meanwhile, scientists predict that The Expanse is at risk of collapsing, so time is an enormous factor for everyone trapped inside.


Felicia Watson's adventure takes the Lovelace--and readers--everywhere from the aquatic planet Vwallon (occupied by aliens called Fwalayna Noctay, which Decker lovingly refers to as "walrus squids") to the treacherous planet Scorpii-d (the aliens here are huge glass-like crabs called Goaps). The range of creatures that inhabit Watson's world are fascinating, strange, and imaginative, one of my favorites being the Dardanze--a bony wheel-like being that feeds on sound waves. But most important for this book are the Jayhine, a bizarre pink dust cloud from The Expanse, which could either be a dangerous enemy or an essential friend to the Lovelace.


While this book features slightly less political commentary than the first Lovelace installment, Spooky Action at a Distance still manages to smartly address Decker's heritage alongside all the action. One of the main reasons Decker dislikes Jacoway has to do with a disagreement about whether the Apache people should adopt a liberation or assimilation viewpoint, when it comes to balancing native identity with integrating into society. Hearing the two characters hash out their ideas is one of the novel's many high points, another one being Watson's fun and clever way of inserting real scientific concepts into her science fiction creation. Expanding the way that a quantum entanglement can link two particles over space-time (the "spooky action at a distance" of the title) into a phenomenon that impacts an entire region of space-time is an astute move that allows for captivating fictional possibilities. She also finds a great science fiction use for neutrinos--uncovering a fake projection by removing everything but neutrinos from the lepton particles of a sensor array. Even my partner--an experimental particle physicist who specializes in neutrino detection and tends to be picky about how quantum physics is represented in fiction--liked that one.


All in all, at this point, I'd follow the Lovelace, Naiche Decker, and Felicia Watson anywhere. And I'd encourage other readers to do the same.

Reviewed by

Co-Founder of The Haint
Former:
Batavia Public Library Tech/Reference Assistant
Literary Agent Assistant at Barbara Braun Associates, Inc.
Personal Assistant to Marilyn Stasio at the NYTBR
Book Review Editor for KGB Bar Lit Mag
Business Manager of Columbia Journal
MFA in Fiction, Columbia U

The Space Between

About the author

Felicia started writing stories as soon as they handed her a pencil in first grade. She’s especially drawn to character driven tales, where we see people we recognize, people who struggle with their mistakes and shortcomings, acknowledge them, and use that knowledge to grow into wiser human beings. view profile

Published on March 03, 2020

Published by D X Varos

60000 words

Genre: Science Fiction

Reviewed by