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Monday, January 29, 2018

"The Ghost Line" by Andrew Neil Gray and J.S. Herbison (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)






OVERVIEW: The Ghost Line is a haunting science fiction story about the Titanic of the stars by debut authors Andrew Neil Gray and J. S. Herbison that Lawrence M. Schoen calls "a delicious rush of the future and the past."

The Martian Queen was the Titanic of the stars before it was decommissioned, set to drift back and forth between Earth and Mars on the off-chance that reclaiming it ever became profitable for the owners. For Saga and her husband Michel the cruise ship represents a massive payday. Hacking and stealing the ship could earn them enough to settle down, have children, and pay for the treatments to save Saga's mother's life.

But the Martian Queen is much more than their employer has told them. In the twenty years since it was abandoned, something strange and dangerous has come to reside in the decadent vessel. Saga feels herself being drawn into a spider's web, and must navigate the traps and lures of an awakening intelligence if she wants to go home again.

FORMAT: The Ghost Line is a novella published by Tor. It stands at 144 pages and was published July 11, 2017. It is a mix of mystery, sci-fi, space exploration.

ANALYSIS: I have to admit, I am really enjoying these novellas that Tor.com is publishing. For the most part, they provide a very solid story that is entertaining and captivating without requiring me to read a doorstopper novel. Considering Tor.com's past with publishing amazing novellas, I thought I would give The Ghost Line a try even though it isn't a story or genre I would normally read.

The Ghost Line is a combination of the Titanic mixed with a space opera adventure and strange, ghost-like mystery. It might sound like a strange mix of genres, but it works. Our main character love exploring abandoned futuristic space ship. There is even a web series that broadcasts the hunts live to the galaxy. The Ghost Line tells the story as our main character explores an abandoned vessel ship that is the space version of a cruise ship that has more than meets the eye. Think of it almost like a space, sci-fi horror story involving a haunted house but instead of a haunted house it is a haunted ship.   

One of my biggest concerns with space opera novels is that it will be 'science heavy' and it will read like a textbook. The Ghost Line didn't have the feel to it. There were some scientific explanations but it didn't feel like a snooze fest or really intimidate me. It was fairly easy to understand and fit into the novella.  

Everything just seemed to fit with The Ghost Line. The pacing was perfect. It didn't move too fast and feel rushed, but it has a slower pace that gave the entire read a very mysterious vibe. There were times I really felt like I was aboard the ship exploring with all of the characters in the novella.

While I did enjoy The Ghost Line, it did have a few drawbacks. In many ways, I felt the novella was too short. I am not sure if there will be any follow up novellas or short stories, but I felt another 30 to 40 pages could have turned this into a solid read.

Given the shorter length, it leads to my other drawback – the main plotline reveal. While reading I almost felt as if the mystery aspect went on too long. That left little time for the main reveal at the end. It still is a wonderful read, but it felt a bit off balance. Again, just a few more pages added to it probably would have given it a more well-rounded feel.


The Ghost Line is just another novella to add to my ever-growing list of favorites from Tor.com. I would love to read any follow up stories that may come up or even other adventures. I certainly recommend this book to anyone looking for a creepy – yet not scary book – that has a very sci-fi/futuristic twist to it.

1 comments:

fee roberts said...

I had no idea Tor was doing novellas. Great review!

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