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Living in the Flames

Killing Gravity  (Voidwitch, volume 1)

By Corey J. White 

3 Apr, 2018

Miscellaneous Reviews


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2017’s Killing Gravity is the first instalment in Corey J. White’s Voidwitch series.

The MEPHISTO corporation purchased Mariam from her father and turned her from an unremarkable little girl into a living weapon who could liquefy soldiers and divert asteroids with a thought. Much to the corporation’s surprise, Mariam — Mars Xi — felt little gratitude for the gift of such power; she resented the terrible cost she had paid in pain and suffering. And she was unwilling to become a corporate tool. She fled, hoping to put her past behind her.

Years later, her past catches up to her.

Mars Xi’s psychic powers have made short work of the bounty hunter who foolishly tried to capture her. In the process, her ship was damaged; it is slowly leaking air and she will die if she does not get help. She sends out a distress signal, hoping for help, fearing that she will be boarded by pirates. The spaceship Nova responds.

As luck has it, the Nova s crew — Squid, Trix, Mookie, and Einri — are a rough lot but they are not pirates. Mars abandons tentative plans to hijack their ship. Indeed, she begins to be somewhat fond of the scruffy crew. 

But helping Mars means trouble. Senior MEPHISTO executive Briggs wants to retrieve his living weapon. Now he has his eye on the bait that will entice her into his trap: 

Her new, vulnerable, friends


As is my wont, I noticed the setting. Which had pervasive issues with scale, that ever present enemy of science fiction authors. This book never gave me the impression that the author had any idea how large a solar system is, let alone a galaxy. Or how much energy is involved in tossing asteroids like so many pebbles. Where does that energy come from? Many readers won’t care, but I do.

I’d love to know just what Briggs had in mind when he decided to lure Mars into a face to face confrontation. At best, she’d end up an unwilling prisoner of MEPHISTO again … and she’d already managed to escape once. At worst she would avoid capture by all means necessary, which could involve vast death and destruction. She does, after all, command energies comparable to a hydrogen bomb.

This book is the first in a series. Considered purely as introduction it works. Taken as a standalone story, it seemed pretty slight. Granted, it’s only a novella, but other Tor novellas (such as the Hugo-nominated Murderbot novella from Martha Wells ) have raised my expectations. Perhaps I can fit the second novella into my schedule…. Judging by the first quarter, Void Black Shadow is more running around and explosions. If I do get to it, it won’t be soon.

Killing Gravity is available here (Amazon) and here (Chapters-Indigo).