This was a quick read from a young author that shows quite a bit of promise. I look forward to seeing where she goes from here, and whether she will keep developing the universe she started creating with Lightless.
A very small crew operates a state-of-the art space ship in a remote part of the solar system. They are suddenly invaded by a couple of “space terrorists” and their manipulation of the ship computer creates all sorts of problems for the crew. The ship’s engineer is puzzled by the output from the computer who seems to have a virus but one that behaves in very unusual ways. It seems to acquire a capacity to learn and develops a sort of “free will”. She is also very concerned about how this will affect the ship’s mission. It is an experimental craft that is testing an entirely mode of propulsion and it is top secret.
The crew manages to capture one of the intruders and they soon have to contend as well with the visit of a special investigator who wants to interview the captive. Suspense about what the intent of the intrusion was is maintained until the end, when we find out the identify of one of the most sought after terrorist leaders of the solar system.
While the rhythm is a bit slow in the first half of the book, it does pick up in the second half. I expect the author to further develop her ability to create rich characters in future books. It will be a great addition to creating a compelling setting for her story.
Higgins, C.J. Lightless. Del Rey, New York, 2015.