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A Bad Deal for the Whole Galaxy

April 6, 2021

The second book in the science fiction series that began with A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe, Alex White’s A Bad Deal for the Whole Galaxy, begins by getting the gang back together. Nilah comes for Boots, who is discovering that she doesn’t like living alone as much as she thought she would, and they circle each other in their characteristic way, firing verbal shots. When Boots says “you never know when a bunch of dangerous yahoos might drop out of the sky and kidnap me,” Nilah replies with “hey, now. I’m more of a hooligan than a yahoo” and tells her “trouble is here. Are you going to follow it out into space, or sit at home?”

Following it out into space, they each learn new tricks. Boots learns how to deal with flying predators called Sirathicas by getting them to chase her ship, and when she asks the Captain what’s going on he says “you’re at the head of a pack of ravenous freaks who can’t decide if they love you or want to bite your head off….I’d say you’re learning what it’s like to be a captain.” Armin gets his own ship. Orna and Nilah build new versions of Ranger.

The crew learns to deal with fake news—specifically, attempts to discredit what they did for the universe after discovering the Harrow. Armin tells them that “fully fifteen percent of civilized space may believe that the Harrow was faked. Thirty-two percent believe some part of it was faked. That’s one in three. Based upon all previous intellectual upheavals, we’ve crossed the threshold for a catalytic event.”

But of course, they manage to save the universe again, and afterwards Nilah works up the courage to propose to Orna, telling herself that she’s already “deliberately jumped out of a moving starship. Helped kill a prime minister. Returned the single most powerful instrument of war to the right hands. Spent an evening drinking with Boots.”

It’s a fun second book, worth reading on its own merits but even better if you’re already fond of the characters after reading A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 7, 2021 8:06 am

    These books feel like very classic SF, don’t they? Just a fun space adventure (but also not hostile to me, a lady)! I read and enjoyed the first one, but it was before the pandemic so I of course remember nothing about it except that it was a good time. 😛

    • April 7, 2021 2:26 pm

      They are really fun! A number of people have compared them to Firefly and Becky Chambers’ The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet.

  2. April 8, 2021 12:40 pm

    I’ve never read a space opera/adventure before – but more and more I see some that I think I would probably enjoy.

    • April 8, 2021 1:22 pm

      I love them! The first one of these (A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe) would be a good one to start out with.

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