In the world of science fiction, there are a huge number of small presses, or presses that just dabble in SF without that being their main focus. The large publishing houses seem to always take the attention, but SF is the perfect example of small presses holding the gems as well. Many small press, such as Fairwood Press, PS Publishing, Apex Publishing, Galaxy Press, Overlook Press, and many others are out there, with great works that just don’t get the publicity of a new book out from Tor, Ace, DAW, the new Angry Robot Books, etc. One of the main goals of Luke Reviews is to get the word out on the great fiction out there that is just a little bit harder to find. Among these more hidden gems you can now add to the list Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue by Hugh Howey, out from NorLights Press.
Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue follows the titular Molly Fyde and her adventures as she goes on a galaxy-spanning quest to recover her father’s ship, the Parsona. Along the way, she runs into a number of messes, and gains friends that will be the core of her new crew. From the dungeons of Palan to the verdant forests of Glemot, Molly struggles with her past, her need to save her ship, and her constant attraction to her partner, Cole, all while trying to maintain unity among her new crew and somehow survive in the process.
Howey’s first novel is fast-paced, combining elements of military science fiction, space opera, and even romance, to flesh out his story of a young girl learning to become a woman. The excitement truly never lets up (although the beginning—a simulator scene that didn’t fool me—had me wondering at first, but the book recovered almost instantly), and Molly, Cole, and the other characters (who I can’t name for fear of given up important plot points) never fall out of character. You really come to care about each of them, and the conclusions works perfectly to both wrap up the novel but leave a huge tease for the second book, 2010’s Molly Fyde and the Land of Light.
Howey does an excellent job in a book that rarely reminds you that it is a first novel, and is a wonderful example of the big boys not always having the best books. This is one not to miss. And after you read it, you will be waiting in line, along with me, for the sequel.