Our first impressions of Orphan Planet

Find out The Space Girls’ first impressions of SPSFC3 contestant, Orphan Planet by Rex Burke.

As part of the Self-Published Sci-Fi Competition, my team (The Space Girls) has been given 25 books to read. Of this initial allocation (or ‘slush pile’), we are reading the first 30% and then voting Yes or No on whether we’d like to continue reading further. You can see our full allocation in my previous blog.

Here are the team’s first impressions of Orphan Planet by Rex Burke. (You can find all of our first impressions posts here.)

The cover of Orphan PlanetBook blurb

With Earth in crisis, humans are travelling deep into space. But humanity’s future just took a wrong turn.

A seventeen-year colony-ship voyage – a straight shot to a new planet. Handpicked, single-minded crew, and a thousand settlers in hypersleep. No children, no families, no fuss.

That was the plan, anyway.

Captain Juno Washington commands a ship of loners and oddballs. The teenagers of the Odyssey Earth didn’t ask to be born, and face an uncertain future. And Jordan Booth really didn’t want to be woken up early.

After an unexpected change of course, relationships are tested like never before. If they listen to advice, pull together and stop squabbling, they might just make it.

Yeah, right. Good luck with that.

Amazon / Goodreads

Our first impressions

Claire: I really liked the humour in this, it reminded me of classic British comedies like Hitchhiker’s Guide or Jeeves and Wooster. It made me laugh on a few occasions, such as when Jordan met Fiz, Chem and Stu.

Even though we never meet her, Sam really came to life through the videos. I really liked the way we were introduced to the six teens through her, and the way that the science was explained through discussions with Jordan and his friends. (Sam also has the same birthday as me which I thought was funny!) (Y)

Nancy: Well written with zero typos, lots of British style humour. I felt some strong Monty Python and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy vibes. Story is centred on a British university history teacher named Jordan who has no real family or friend attachments on Earth. After an uneventful breakup, he signs up for the space colonisation project and wakes up 16 years later… in the spaceship instead of their new planet. The book gave me vibes from that Jennifer Lawrence movie Passengers, just without the creepy romance subplot and the skeletal crew is alive. Why did the crew awaken him if he is just an ordinary history teacher? I like the reason for this, but I did feel the book meanders with too much repetitive info dumping about Earth being polluted and climate change…

It felt kind of weird that a ship that has been inhabited nonstop for almost 17 years still retains the sterile space ship off-white wall panels with zero decoration. It is a good read so far. (Y)

Katherine: This was a pretty easy read, with light humour here and there and an interesting enough opening. It’s sometimes a little Shatner-ish with its commas and likes to switch back and forth between times at the beginning of chapters, which I found annoying but eventually settled into.

The idea of birth control not working so them needing to defrost the teacher to teach six kids is honestly pretty funny.

There are conversations with a lot of people speaking and no speak tags, which I guess is fine for flavour but I found sort of annoying. I get that it was to show he didn’t know which kid was which, though. Question marks used a lot for rhetorical questions and there are semi-colons missing in some places, which can be confusing. (Y)

Status: Quarterfinalist