There are a lot of testimonials at the start of Goldilocks, one of Laura Lam’s 21 books. They say things like “Grabs your attention from the first page” and “An absolutely stunning and compelling story”, plus my favourite “If The Martian and The Handmaid’s Tale had a book baby, this… would be the incredible result”.
These 18 or so pieces of praise set you up to either find a book that will never leave your memory, or fill you with total disappointment, wondering why people made such bold statements.
I would add a 19th statement of praise; Goldilocks is a thrilling, unpredictable, well written work that effortlessly transports you into an apocalyptic, dystopian future, but one where there is still hope.
Laura Lam’s characters leap off the page and build themselves into real people from the start. My allegiance switched in an instant when some of the characters transformed from protagonist to antagonist. Her story moves at a breathtaking pace from the first page to the last; it really is a book you will struggle to put down.
One of the challenges with science fiction (or Climate Fiction, as this new genre is being called) is to make the technology believable for any length of time… think original Star Trek versus Stanley Kubrik’s 2001, both from the same era but with the former using plastic boxes and coloured lights and the latter looking futuristic, even today.
Laura Lam manages to pull off deep space travel, cryogenics and Faster-Than-Light travel successfully. It is, as in Kubrik’s tour de force, what she doesn’t show that makes it believable. Add to that the well known governmental issue of choosing a cheap supplier over a good one and many of the situations found on this journey become quite convincing.
The book jumps around its own timeline, but each chapter starts with a 3 line header showing how many days from launch, arrival at Mars and arrival at an ultimate destination, allowing the reader to immediately understand where in the timeline they are.
At 340 pages in total, it’s not a quick evening’s read, but once you are immersed in the plot I think you will find the chapters have a way of pushing you to read for ‘just a few more minutes’ to see what happens next.
Goldilocks is available from all good, independent booksellers and should be in your local library. Laura Lam can be found at http://www.lauralam.co.uk/
Simon West and The Team