“Gate to Futures Past” by Julie E. Czerneda is a complex story that explores tradition, remarkable powers, faith, mysticism, and perspective within the framework of space travel and learning about new worlds. The change in fortune for the Sona Clan that puts them at the mercy of the AI in the building known as Cloisters that has become a starship is making them question the future and their role in it. The stresses of dealing with the M’hir added to the dismaying losses, changes in the ship, and the constant voices make it difficult to discern whether their lives are going to improve but crucial decisions may turn reality as they know it on end, with no balance in sight.
This science fiction novel is part of the ‘Reunification’ section of the ‘Clan Chronicles’ series. Unfortunately, it should NOT be read as a stand-alone story, as pivotal information is required (or so I surmise) in order to understand the events and conflicts in this tale. As usual, the story expands one’s universe and makes the reader ponder what the distillation of self is, and whether alien life is a state of mind or a reality. Despite being a bit lost at times, I was still caught up in the struggles of the various beings sharing their journey and fighting to survive, and tied emotionally to them. There are elements that I love, including Sira’s constantly moving hair, the pronoun nes, and the telepathy between mates, but I was VERY frustrated by the ending (although I definitely needed a tissue). As usual, this author has penned a compelling tale in a well-built and complex universe, but my suggestion would be to start with the first book in this particular trilogy, if not the couple of trilogies prior, in order to have some sense of the progression of events and how much overlap can be avoided.
Second novel in the hard sci-fi Reunification series, The Gate to Futures Past continues the Clan Chronicles, perfect for space opera readers looking for unique aliens and interstellar civilizations.
Betrayed and attacked, the Clan fled the Trade Pact for Cersi, believing that world their long-lost home. With them went a lone alien, the Human named Jason Morgan, Chosen of their leader, Sira di Sarc. Tragically, their arrival upset the Balance between Cersi’s three sentient species. And so the Clan, with their newfound kin, must flee again.
Their starship, powered by the M’hir, follows a course set long ago, for Clan abilities came from an experiment their ancestors—the Hoveny—conducted on themselves. But it’s a perilous journey. The Clan must endure more than cramped conditions and inner turmoil.
Their dead are Calling.
Sira must keep her people from answering, for if they do, they die. Morgan searches the ship for answers, afraid the Hoveny’s tech is beyond his grasp. Their only hope? To reach their destination.
Little do Sira and Morgan realize their destination holds the gravest threat of all....