The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett

The Space Between the Stars

Anne Corlett

A fabulous debut novel that is part women's fiction, part science fiction, and an enthralling exploration of love, loss, and what it means to be human.

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When the world ends, where will you go?

In a breathtakingly vivid and emotionally gripping debut novel, one woman must confront the emptiness in the universe—and in her own heart—when a devastating virus reduces most of humanity to dust and memories.

 
All Jamie Allenby ever wanted was space. Even though she wasn’t forced to emigrate from Earth, she willingly left the overpopulated, claustrophobic planet. And when a long relationship devolved into silence and suffocating sadness, she found work on a frontier world on the edges of civilization. Then the virus hit...
 
Now Jamie finds herself dreadfully alone, with all that’s left of the dead. Until a garbled message from Earth gives her hope that someone from her past might still be alive.
 
Soon Jamie finds other survivors, and their ragtag group will travel through the vast reaches of space, drawn to the promise of a new beginning on Earth. But their dream will pit them against those desperately clinging to the old ways. And Jamie’s own journey home will help her close the distance between who she has become and who she is meant to be...


Advance Galley Reviews

Jamie Allenby wakes, alone, and realises her fever has broken. But could everyone she knows be dead? Months earlier, Jamie had left her partner Daniel, mourning the miscarriage of their baby. She'd just had to get away, so took a job on a distant planet. Then the virus hit. Jamie survived as it swept through our far-flung colonies. Now she feels desperate and isolated until she receives a garbled message from Earth. If someone from her past is still alive – perhaps Daniel – she knows she must find a way to return. She meets others seeking Earth, and their ill-matched group will travel across space to achieve their dream. But they'll clash with survivors intent on repeating humanity's past mistakes, threatening their precious fresh start. Jamie will also get a second chance at happiness. But can she escape her troubled past, to embrace a hopeful future? Anne Corlett is a writer from the northeast, who slid down the map and now lives near Bath. She's been published in various magazines and her short fiction has won several awards, but The Space Between the Stars is her first novel, and it's an impressively strong debut. Telling the story of one woman who wakes from an illness to discover that not only her world, but the entire galaxy has been changed by a virus, she embarks on a journey that takes her across the stars, but also a journey that takes her deep into the secrets and issues that she's tried to leave behind her – and it makes for a riveting read. This is Science Fiction – a large part of the book taking place on alien planets and in the vastness of space. However, Corlett doesn't allow the book to become weighed down by going into too much detail when it comes to exploring this aspect of things, instead keeping a steady aim on Jamie's character and those she meets along the way. Science Fiction often includes grand, far-reaching ideas, and Corlett has no issue touching upon some very interesting points, but does so by using her characters as a lens through which to focus these ideas, meaning that, not only are the ideas and issues raised here conveyed well, but they also form part of a plot which is involving, intimate, and often rather gripping. Jamie was a character I took a while to warm to, but I think that's a reflection of quite how well she's been brought to life – no everywoman, she's real, damaged, and the emotional change she goes through over the course of the book makes for fascinating reading, and forms the main emotional pull of the plot. Any science fiction book with a strong female lead will always gain extra brownie points from me too, as they still aren't quite as common as they should be. I initially found the book a little bit of a struggle to get into, but am hugely glad I persevered, as this is a read that rewards the reader with real characters, strong emotional beats, and a fantastic journey across the stars. Many thanks to the publishers for the copy.

This was a perfectly enjoyable novel that did not surprise me at any point during the narrative. It is not an overly heavy book nor is it really a SciFi book. Yes it is futuristic and set in space but it is more philosophical. The cast of characters vary widely and are all deeply flawed. I would recommend this for an enjoyable read but not as a must read.

If you are looking for a novel heavy in science fiction and space terminology, then this is not the book for you. If you ARE looking for deep conversations about philosophy and theology couched in a novel about a woman who has never quite fit where she was told that she should, then please do yourself a favor and read this book. The detail in setting and word choice is often beautiful, though the characters themselves are sometimes lacking in complexity. This is NOT the next Dune, nor is it totally without value. It is a very human story with a protagonist that will speak to many readers.

For the most part, I enjoyed this novel. It's science fiction in the sense that parts take place in space (though there's not much world building to differentiate planets from one another, even by language), there is some technology beyond our own, and a mysterious illness has wiped out most of the human race. Our heroine Jamie meets up with other survivors and resolves to set course for Earth, where she has agreed to meet her (ex-) lover in the event of any catastrophic event. I thought Corlett developed some very interesting characters, though there were elements of the novel that just didn't click for me. The romance aspect felt forced and unnecessary, the ultimate ending was predictable, and I didn't get why Jamie had to be a conjoined twin. That plot point was brought up once and seemed to never come back. As a twin (albeit fraternal), I was found it kind of annoying. Ultimately I would have enjoyed a harder science fiction take or more romance to justify writing those relationships into the novel.

I enjoyed the world (or worlds) the author created in this book. The story was easy to get through with a good mix of suspense and character development. I enjoyed the concept of a future human society with some sci-fi elements but this book really didn't seem hokey and the world the author created felt like it could actually exist. I initially found the protagonist to be moody and unnecessarily paranoid and had a hard time rooting for her. As the story continued and we learned more about her, that changed a bit, but I still found her to be one of the characters with the most annoying traits. The other characters were developed well and I could easily envision the relationships between each of them. Overall, I found this book enjoyable and easy to read and would recommend it to other readers.

I really loved this book. As I read it - I could envision the world Anne built up. I can't imagine waking up after a horrible illness to find everyone just gone, and that eeriness and panic of being alone. I loved that the characters - as they came together were so different and not people that would normally be friends....but they had to stick together for survival and have each others backs. I loved how the relationships developed. I never could figure out the age differences of the pilot and of Finn from the main character, Jamie. This story though kept me engaged the whole say and the end left me feeling really good and positive. I wish Finn would've been mentioned in that last little blurb she made and not sure what the point was about the name in the sand at the end..... I would love to see this book as a movie. Thank you, Penguin, for letting me read an early release of this book for an honest review. I will be recommending this one for sure!

My disappointment in this book is probably my own fault. I didn't pay close enough attention to the blurb. This is not post apocalyptic science-fiction, although it is set in outer space. A virus has cut down the overpopulation by killing almost all humans on earth and the settlements in space. The people are reduced to piles of grey ash. Jamie is one of the few survivors but she very quickly meets up with a few other survivors. You'd think this situation would provide interesting challenges, but in this book all Jamie does is obsess over her miscarriage and her former lover. At least that is all she did as far as I got in this book. All of this could have happened on a farm in Kansas. Outer space is an afterthought in this book. The author is not interested in the details like what fuel runs the spacecraft in which the survivors are traveling. She is interested, however, in philosophical questions like who should be saved and how the world will be reshaped. The questions may eventually have amounted to something interesting but I just didn't have the patience to find out. This is not what I was expecting, and I was so very bored that I gave up after trying to read this book for several weeks. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

The premise for this novel is amazing. A civilization stretched out across space, a deadly virus that obliterates most the populate, and a handful of survivors trying to make it back to Earth. I have to somewhat agree with some other reviewers who say the execution does not live up to such a promising set-up. I did enjoy this though. I thought the characters a little flat but I loved reading about different ways people deal with the end of the world. Overall, I enjoyed this book but had higher hopes.

I could only get to page 21. Too much going on and just could not get into the book.

This book opens with a strong first chapter and keeps up the momentum right to the end. The author deftly sets up the main character's back story without any clunky exposition and slowly builds on the details as the main story progresses. The characters are engaging and well defined. I finished reading in less than 24 hours, mostly because I had a very hard time setting it aside to do other things. Beautifully written. Summing up the book overall, I would call this sci fi with a literary sensibility.

This novel was nothing what I expected, and yet it is now stuck in my mind like an idea that just won't go away. It's one of those books that's so breathtaking, so gorgeous, it becomes unforgettable. Fair warning, scifi fans: this is not hard scifi, this is not a space opera: it is something different, something more. The virus hits, and humanity as we know it is gone. Less than a dozen or so survivors per planet. The virus has consumed so entirely that the dead are nothing but dust in sunbeams. Jamie is one of the survivors, seemingly alone on a frontier planet, so she finds hope by clinging to one idea: she needs to find her ex-husband on Earth, as they promised they would do so long ago. She's not alone: soon, she finds a religious man with a troubled past; a woman slowly losing her mind; a pilot with a cold exterior, and his engineer; a young prostitute, and a mentally challenged boy. Strays. Stragglers. Survivors. Together, they decide to head to Earth. The surprising thing about this novel is just how... calm it is. Not so say that the plot isn't gripping, it's just that you can almost feel the voices snuffed out. The author juxtaposes small, personal loses (or quite large ones) with the wide scale loss of your entire species. Jamie's loss of her siamese twin, then unborn child, then the crumbling of her relationship with Daniel are poignant pains that are still valid in front of the collapse of mankind. It's really a book about philosophies, and personal beliefs around hope and religion. Some turn towards a god in this apocalypse; others turn away. And some try to take god's place. Although some might try to take control, believing they know best, the truth is, all in all, there is no right answer to dealing with loss and grief. There's no one sobbing in the street and mourning the dead - since this is a massive, collective loss, the hundred or so left might remain in shock forever. I found that the plot was predictable, BUT, it was the philosophies that kept me hooked. Yes, the 'twist' at the end (or big reveal) is evident from about half way through, but I didn't mind that since the rest of the book was so beautiful. It was very odd that out of the survivors (A little over a hundred out of the billions the human race used to be made up of) the protagonist knew or was related to two of them. The coincidences did feel heavy handed. The novel really did manage to speak about today, about how our fear of 'others' can destroy us all. We hear bits and pieces about the forced emigration when Earth became over crowded; about the protest ships; about the echelons that make up our future society, where our fingers are branded with our class. I would have loved to know more about that, even if that world is now gone. For fans of Station Eleven and Firefly, this seems to be the perfect combination of 'ragtag space team' and the burden of loss and survival. It's an exploration of grief and hope, and, above all, belief. It's an exploration of our humanity, what it means to be human when humankind is lost. And it's gorgeous.

A beautifully written book set in a carefully built post-apocalyptic world with a fascinating protagonist. The deliberate pace helps flesh out the setting and lets the reader get to know the characters. This was a really lovely read. I especially appreciated how deeply I got into the read; whenever I had to stop reading, I felt like I was surfacing from a dream. I had to shake myself and come back to the real world.

I loved this take on a post-apocalyptic world. There was a very interesting counterpoint between privileged and not, even after the devastation. I did feel as if the book started slowly, but that allowed time to really get to know the characters, and feel a bit of what it might have been like to be all alone in the world.

I really enjoyed this story! It was a refreshing twist on the end of the world theme that is so popular right now. I thought the characters were very well developed and the imagery was brilliant. This was a book that really took me away. I did find it strange that in the beginning of the book none of the characters cursed and then all of a sudden they started swearing. It felt strange and out of place. I didn't really think it was needed. I will definitely be looking for more books by this author!

At first I wasn't sure what to make of this book. It has a really slow build at the beginning but then I realised this was the author building her world. And it's a really deserted world for a start. Jamie I found wasn't that sympathetic a heroine, she is far from perfect but in a world that's not perfect, she ended up being the perfect protagonist and by the end I was really rooting for her and the new life she managed to carve out in the 'new' world that was left behind. A fascinating read.

I loved this. Beautifully written, insightful, perfectly captures the nuances of complex human emotions and relationships. I felt like I had a solid sense of all of the characters just from their brief but thorough descriptions. I couldn't put this down. The conversations about religion felt a bit heavy-handed at times but it all made sense in the end. Loved the dialogue and the conversations about the meaning of live and love amid uncertain circumstances. Well done.

Amazingly well written, this book captures your attention from start to finish. The virus/apocalypse idea has obviously been done before but this novel adds its own perspective to the idea and is much more well done than any other I have read in the genre.

A well written story and one with a fairly convincing plot. These are things I look for in reading-for-entertainment and find all too rarely. Having said that, I find myself wondering why I found it as entertaining as I did.

Great book! I got a little nervous at the beginning that it was going to be just another cheesy post apolcalytic, but it was so much more. So engaging and well thought out. The story kept me interested throughout. Fantastic characters and the writing was wonderful. Just outstanding.

I was surprised how compelling and hard to put down this book was for me. The last couple of books I've read have been very slow to get the action going, but this one starts right from the start with pulling me in and making it hard for me to get anything else done. It has some features that remind me of the tv show Last Man on Earth or the movie The Martian, but it's really not like either of those. A virus has wiped out most of Earth's inhabitants as well as the colonies on the other worlds. Jamie, our heroine, was taking a timeout from her relationship on Earth, but now wants to just be home.

The Space Between The Stars digs deep into what it means to be human. This book was not at all what I expected. This book makes you wonder what you would do if you were in their situation. I wasn't sure what to expect with this book, but I really enjoyed it. I liked that the characters had a lot of depth to them. There were some things in this story that really surprised me. I didn't really care for the main character, Jamie, which sometimes helps in books. She was a good character, and she had a lot going on with her. The characters worked well together and made a good group. I enjoyed continuing to read and find out about their individual stories as well as what happened to them collectively. I would recommend this book.

I really enjoyed this book. The worlds were described well and the characters were developed at a good pace. The little twists here and there even well timed and added to the story and didn't create confusion. Overall, of recommend this book to anyone who likes a little bit of everything!!

A dystopian romance with an interesting premise, what if you are one of a very few human survivors of a virus in the universe, how do you find others? Unfortunately, that is answered almost instantly and the book becomes a science fiction mystery that is not thrilling enough. We know the answer far too quickly for the tale to maintain any degree of tension. Toss in a romance and all that's missing is...a kind stepmother. Oh wait, she's there, too.

The Space Between is a beautifully written story of humanity at the end of the world and what it means to be alive in the moment. If you have ever stood on the shore and felt you could live in that moment forever, this book is for you.

The end of days has come and gone. At least, that's what it seems has happened when you read Anne Corlett's debut novel. But Jamie Allenby survived. She and other members of the human race survived a virus that sent its victims back to the dust God used to create Adam in Genesis. There was great commentary on how no matter hard humans try and no matter their intentions, good or bad, they can't control everything. I enjoyed reading this book. It was an easy read and once I had the opportunity to sit down and devote time to it, it moved quickly. I will say that I had trouble getting invested in the characters, including Jamie. That could have been because the narration is third person so I never felt like I was seeing everything through her eyes. I felt like she was an outsider, which might have been the point. She and her fellow survivors just went through a horrific ordeal and are struggling to navigate their world, which, even though it looks the same, is completely different than the one they knew. I would recommend this book to those who are interested in science fiction or women's fiction or who, like me, doesn't normally reach for this genre of writing. They will meet characters that frustrate them, characters that they want to know more about, and a story that might make them ask themselves what they would do if they traded places with Jamie or her friends. What I would like is a sequel. I think it would provide an opportunity for Corlett to flesh out this world and her characters more. If I were to give it a rating, I would say 4/5 stars. Corlett is a talented writer and I enjoyed reading her novel, but I think that more description could have been given to the novel's world and more depth could have been given to her characters.

The Space Between the Stars is about a woman named Jamie that immigrated from over populated Earth to a new planet, when she arrives a virus wipes out everyone and she is left alone to survive! Honestly it's a 3 star read. While I did love the writing it just felt too un original! It reminded me of The Fifth Wave and Survival! I mean the immigrateing to a new planet is like Passengers the movie. It's just too un original. If I were you I would still read it :)

I really enjoyed reading this book, it had a nice pace with a good sense of adventure. I liked that most of the characters had flaws and came across as real people with real issues, besides the obvious main problem of being lone survivors. That being said, there were a few times that I thought the author took the easy way out and while it made for a smoother storyline, it took some the reality out of it for me . Overall, I am very happy that I was able to read this book and I will be excited to get a hardcover copy to add to my shelves!! Thank you for allowing me this Advance Reader Copy.

As the human population continues to grow and use up finite resources, we look toward stars and nearby planets as possible colonization targets. In Anne Corlett's The Space Between the Stars, this colonization has already taken place and the survival of humans is under strain. Needing some space from her husband, Jamie leaves to be a vet on Solitaire. After a deadly virus hits throughout the universe wiping out the lives of most people, Jamie believes herself to be completely alone, which throws her into frantic despair until she gets a garbled message from Earth. Thinking that the message is from her husband, Jamie is determined to get to Earth however possible to find him. As a few other survivors find Jamie and a passing ship is willing to take them toward Earth, this small, eclectic group has the pieces to uncover the mystery of the virus, prevent the ultimate demise of human civilization, and find out just who they really are. There were some minimal elements of a dystopian sci-fi society in this book; however, the intense focus on Jamie and her relatively closed off mind/emotional state made it difficult to fully appreciate the manner and extent the world was shaped by the actions of the ruling class until it was basically spelled out toward the end - it would have been more interesting to see these elements unfold rather than be told of them. As cautionary tale for the dangers of genetic manipulation and playing God, this narrative presented plenty of arguments and theories, particularly as surrounds discussions of humanity, some of which were interesting and made you think. But I found there wasn't much to connect to character-wise, as they lacked any real depth and instead played off standard stereotypes, to make me care much about the outcome of the minimal plot, which was forced along in a rather predictable way. Overall, I'd give it a 3 out of 5 stars.

The Space Between the Stars is Anne Corlett's debut novel, combining dystopian sci-fi with a picaresque storyline, with a dose of romance and a touch of mystery added. There is a lot of eschatological table talk and a twisted thriller ending. A virus has killed humanity across the known universe. Jamie wants to get back home to Earth. She meets up with various survivors: spaceship captain Callen and his sidekick Gracie, and ex-priest Lowry and burned-out scientist Rena, who both had been at a retreat center. Together they go on a journey across space, stopping at various posts to refuel, learning how survivors have organized after the apocalypse, and picking up Mila, born into the 'whore' class, and Finn, who is perhaps autistic. We learn that before the virus Earth had become overpopulated. A way of classifying people by status involved tattooing people. Some people were sent off-planet, with a resistance group opting to join them. Jamie, Callen, Lowry and Rena are all on the run from their pasts. Cramped together on the small space ship, there are a lot of conflicts and divisiveness. And some underlying sexual tension. Rena was a scientist with fixated on understanding the 'will of God' behind all that has happened. As she spirals into a madness of her own making, and each survivor struggles to make sense of their lives, horrible secrets are revealed. Should--will--these misfits survive? When everything is revealed at the end, I realized the novel was also a warning about genetic manipulation in an endeavor to 'improve' on Mother Nature out of a false fixation on perfection. Nature is messy. But it is always right. I received a free ebook from the publisher through First to Read.

A dystopic world set on space colonies and earth in the aftermath of a catastrophic virus. Jamie the MC is confrontational and closed off but grows during her journey The other characters are sketchy ad the world building is lacking leaving you wondering about the colonies and space travel. An interesting read although the extremely low survival rate was voided where Jamie is concerned for no apparent reasoning.

This book was enthralling from the beginning. Jamie wakes from illness to alone and thinks that she might be the only one that is left. A virus has swept Earth and space that has erased millions of lives. She begins to dwell on her loss of the baby and Daniel. After a few days, she discovers other survivors and makes her way to the planet she was on previously and fights with her crew to make their way to Earth. She develops a relationship with her pilot and discovers that all is not lost. On Earth, she finds her stepmother and is able to build a relationship with her. One of her crew members was one of the researchers that helped create the virus that has left mankind destroyed and thought to be infertile. Towards the end, it is discovered that mankind will continue to move forward. I really enjoyed this novel and found it be very touching and thought provoking.

It's not out until June but i'm going on the record now: Read This! The handful of characters we follow are fascinating & infuriating as they reveal themselves & i still held hope for them. Jamie, our main character was often remote and she displayed a penchant for harsh judgment without insight or even thought of the point of view of others but as she had intimacy issues, it rang true and made for an interesting portrayal. She irritated me but she also fascinated me and always made me want to know more. She learned and evolved. I was glad of that. All of the main supporting characters changed as the group shared experiences and moved through the story. Still, the other character I found most compelling was Rena. She annoyed me but she, like Jamie, made me think about what about her was bothering me so deeply and what I felt should be done with her in such a situation. I felt revulsion, sympathy and even pity for her so I'd say she was well done. Definitely one of the portrayals that will remain with me for some time. Jamie and Rena are both looking for patterns and meaning along the way. Jamie, in people around her and the known world and Rena in God and the corporeal. At times this scratched at the back of my brain & recalled the feeling of reading Through the Looking Glass with all the stops made & people met along the way. it felt surreal but there always remained a grounding current that kept things in the realm of the possible. It certainly made me think about what kind of social group would i want to be a part of in such an instance. This book also spoke to me on a maternal front with Jamie's loss & I appreciated that thread. Still, she was different enough from me in her reactions to it, that I could read about her journey at a comfortable distance. One niggle was in that she mentions that she "miscarried" but for as far along as she was said to have been in her pregnancy & having had delivered, she had a stillborn baby. I loved the portrayal of the loss but if miscarriage is the general taboo topic, I feel stillbirth is even more unmentioned & unmentionable. In point of fact, they aren't the same thing. I wanted more explanatory science but there was so much more here, that while I could've gone another 100 pages with some intensive world-building, I realized that this book is telling a different story and it's a worthy one. Some of my questions: What kind of propulsion are these interplanetary capable ships using? What fuel are they using; it seems they burn through it quickly necessitating refueling often and how are they reaching planets so quickly (within a day(s)? What exactly is the mechanism and trajectory of the virus (because it's endpoint is so very unique? How did the research remain concealed given its original purpose? How far from our present is this taking place because they have references that are so grounded in our present day memory (Nazis, Chernobyl, Post-Its, etc). Even with these things that left me wanting, there are plenty of other pre & post-apocalyptic themes covered: religious zealotry, female vulnerability in all male settings, martial law/police states, forced breeding plans, caste systems and even eugenics in targeted socioethnic groups. I very much enjoyed this but i'm a little sad that I've already finished what will surely be a great summer read. I know, #readerproblems. In book world I've seen some thinking this is a YA book. The MC is 38 so... it's not. If you like your extinction event stories on the quieter side, like Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel , this is a good read. If you're about watching what remains of humanity trying to more broadly, work out where civilization goes after an extinction event, like Seveneves by Neal Stephenson, this could be in your book match. This is going on my favourites shelf and I don't do that often. Recommended. Highly. Favorite quote- "Life is its own point," Lowry said. "It's just a series of moments, some of them memorable, some of them not. There's no redemption but what we're prepared to grant ourselves. No point when we're finished becoming what we;re going to be. There's just this breath, and the next one, and the next one. Each one of those breaths, each of those moments helps to shape us. And then there's other people. Sometimes we figure out a way of rubbing along together. Sometimes we break someone else, or they break us." Many thanks to Penguin Random House for the Advance Reader Copy.

I will try to give a review as spoiler-free as possible. And if I do think there's a spoiler, I will give you a warning. The Space Between The Stars begins with Jamie waking up after surviving a virus that has infected nearly - if not - all of humanity. She is on a different planet, and she finds other survivors with whom she travels to Earth - hoping to meet someone she loved there. This is not a pure science fiction novel, mind you. It is more musings of humanity, and although I believe the essence of science fiction is the impact and changes in humanity, I would have liked to see a bit more science fiction here. TSBTS qualifies more as a religious drama - the book is not religious as such, but there are many conversations surrounding faith and its implications. That said, while I found the writing wonderful, in fact, it is what kept me going - I felt the plot and surrounding characters could have used more development. Often, it felt like every other character existed to elicit a reaction and/or thoughts from Jamie and therefore had quite two-dimensional facades. The book has great one-liners, some of them great to spark book club debates and discussions. I would suggest to keep reading it for a 100 pages before you make up your mind to continue or abandon - you might find the writing captivating enough to keep carrying on. All in all, I would say this is a book worth reading and I look forward to more books from Anne Corlett.

I thought this book was great! It kept my interest from the beginning. I can't wait for more books from this author!

I really enjoyed this novel! It was thought provoking, honest, and gut wrenching. It was also an exciting sci-fi read. I look forward to reading more from this new author.

This was one of the best debut fiction novels I have ever read! It's ridiculously easy to read. The beginning, where the main character, Jamie, wakes up from an apocalyptic virus to realize she maybe the only one to survive, is written with a brutal honesty. I don't want to give too much away. I think this book will appeal to fans of all kinds of fiction. I'm thrilled to have a new author to look out for!

 


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