Goldilocks by Laura Lam

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I was so excited about this one. I rarely read blurbs, but looking at the cover and title I thought “man, I wonder if that’s about a Goldilocks zone planet” – SURE WAS. I hopped on this book immediately. It was advertised as a book for those who liked The Martian, and would be interested in that sort of feel but with five women instead of one dude alone on a planet. I thought, yes, yes that would sound lovely.

It turns out that a bunch of women steal a spaceship and plan to use a newly developed warp drive to go establish a new human colony on a planet called Cavendish. That sounded amazing.

I hope I can explain why it didnt work for me, but may work for you. I still can’t put my finger on a full explanation of why I just couldn’t get into this one. I feel like there are other reasons than I’m going to list, but I just can’t find a way to articulate them.

I think part of my issue was the broken up timeline. It didn’t feel cohesive to me and I kept getting thrown off my groove when the timeline switched again. I didn’t particularly warm up to any of the characters, either. I felt very distant from them and I think maybe it’s because of the third person detached storytelling style. Instead of referring to characters by their names, sometimes the prose will reference the characters by their professions: “the cosmonaut picked up the wrench”. It may sound silly and picky, but little things like that built up over time and I just never fell into any of the character’s heads or hearts.

I think another big reason is I couldn’t find myself enjoying the plotline itself. It’s a well-written plot, it’s plausible, it’s well researched, it’s provocative and thoughtful. It also gives me anxiety. There’s an impending apocalypse…. the Earth is fucked. Everyone is wearing masks. Women have started to lose the ground they gained over the past couple of centuries and their expected societal roles are falling back to what you’d expect in the forties. There are rich people in charge, and they are screwing female scientists out of their opportunities. The poor are dying in droves, the land is poison, the air is becoming more toxic, and the rich are watching it all burn while they sip on expensive alcohol and eat meat which is a rarity for everyone else. It was so on the nose. I just squirmed the whole way through the book.

I really struggle to rate this. I think if the first couple paragraphs where I make it sound rosy caught your attention, try it out. This is definitely an “it’s me, not you”. There’s nothing wrong with this book, I’m just not in the right headspace to enjoy it. I gave this a 4/5 on Goodreads and I think that’s as specific as I’m going to get with the ratings. I’m finding it impossible to try and analyze this one in detail since I bounced so hard off of it but absolutely recognize this is a really good book – for someone else.