The first book in a science fiction series. Doesn’t end in a cliffhanger.

Publication year: 2015
Format: Audio
Running time: 11 hours and 21 minutes
Publisher: Kelt Haven Press
Narrator: Laura Gallagher

Michigan “Mitchie” Long has just completed her mission to retrieve an Artificial Intelligence scientist and send him away from a planet hostile to AI development. Then she receives instructions to sign up to Fives Full. Fives Full is a cargo space ship and after delivering its current cargo, it got a presumably very safe task: to ferry a bunch of tourists to see a nearby planet. However, the task turns up nasty when they’re attacked by people who want to kidnap one of the tourists. Mitchie has to fight alongside the crew to keep them all alive. And that’s just the beginning of her journey on board Fives Full.

In this setting, it seems that the planets have separated into two groups: the Disconnected worlds, which are roughly the more poorer worlds, and the Fusion worlds which are the more developed worlds. The Fusion worlds are paranoid about AIs because of a past event called the Betrayal. So, the ships don’t use AIs. Fives Full is also an analog ship where even the course has to be plotted by hand, with a sliderule, in fact. This of course means that the humans on board have to be well-trained and rely on each other all the time.

This is harder science fiction than space opera usually tends to be and it has a very positive, even heroic vibe. It doesn’t have one story but several connected tasks, like a TV miniseries. I enjoyed them all.

Captain Schwartzenberger runs a tight ship, for a civilian cargo runner. He’s always looking for a way to make some money, and we’re told the reason for this, too. However, he does have a moral compass so he doesn’t do anything for money. The crew includes three other people: the first mate Shi Bingrong, the mechanic Guo Kwan, and Billy the deckhand.

Mitchie is the newest person on board. She seems to be a secret agent but she’s also an exceptional pilot and a navigator. She’s also used to working undercover and lying to people. Of course, she has her own agenda all the time.

The ending ties up most of the plotlines but there is a subplot which feels unconnected and isn’t resolved.