The Vacuum of Space Book Review
The Vacuum of Space is your basic murder mystery story with one exception: it’s set on a space station! Don’t let the title fool you into believing it features kicking people out of an airlock, though. It’s a play on words. You see, our quirky heroine is a janitor. Get it? Vacuum of Space? Space Janitor? Moving on. While on duty monitoring the cleaning bots, Trianna Moore, that’s our space janitor, discovers a dead body. This kicks off a series of events involving love, adventure, misunderstanding, and of course, more murder.
As a murder mystery, The Vacuum of Space is fulfilling. As with any great mystery, Huni leaves clues and breadcrumbs throughout the story to lead the reader to believe the murderer is one person or another. This misdirection is more successful with some suspects than others. I know some mystery lovers like to attempt solving the mystery before the reveal, but that’s not me. I enjoy it when the story takes me on a ride. With Trianna at the helm, the ride may be bumpier than others, but that makes it more fun.
Speaking of Trianna, I have yet to introduce her properly. You already know she’s a space janitor. It sounds a lot worse than it is. Her job is mostly to sit in a command center and monitor cleaning bots for errors. Since the system usually doesn’t fail, Trianna has a lot of free time. She uses this free time mostly to watch old TV shows.
She also uses her free time to hack the space station’s computers. Trianna is something of a genius. She has worked in most departments on the station but ended up in sanitation because she likes it there. It’s a low-stress job that pays her basic needs while affording her time to explore her hobbies, such as gaining control over the station’s computers, creating backup recordings of herself at work, and creating ways to track other people on the station.
The detective in The Vacuum of Space is Ty. He works for Board Security, meaning his societal position is just below the top. In fact, he often hobnobs with the absolute upper crust. However, where most people concentrate on moving up the social ladder, Ty’s primary goal is happiness. He recruits Trianna to help him solve the string of murders after she finds one of the dead bodies. However, he is taken with her average woman sensibilities. Will he let his personal feelings interfere with his investigation? That would be unprofessional, of course, but this is a work of fiction, so yes. Yes, he does. But it’s ok because it adds the dramatic flair the story needs.
While The Vacuum of Space is a mystery, it’s science fiction elements are integral to the story. There is, of course, the fact that it is set on a space station. Suspects are more or less trapped there, which limits the pool. Since a single computer system runs the station, cybersecurity is a constant threat. Rings also serve as an all in one identity system. Not only do these high-tech ring work to open doors, but they also serve as a phone, digital wallet, keys, location chip that allows lights to turn on and off automatically, and more. They are a replacement for anything you’d typically carry on a day to day basis. They also integrate with the central computer system, so, again, cybersecurity is essential.
Following the tradition of many great science fiction franchises, The Vacuum of Space introduces many unique slang terms like upper lev and lower lev to stand for social status are abound. Huni does a great job to not fall into the trap of going overboard. While lesser stories might add “space” in front of everything, no one is eating a “space burger” in this novel. Instead, new brands are made, such as TastiBun and BunG. The only time this got on my nerves is when Huni tries to show how names of some things have changed, such as when Trianna watches an Ancient TēVē Westirn.
Usually, a story that attempts to meld two genres will leave one as window dressing for the other. Not this one. The Vacuum of Space does an excellent job making both the mystery and science fiction integral to the story. The technology is both futuristic and believable at the same time. The Vacuum of Space is an excellent read for fans of both science fiction and mystery.