I finished reading Freedom’s Choice (Science Fiction 327 pages) by Anne McCaffrey this morning and am absolutely ready to move on to the next book in the series. This story takes place immediately after Freedom’s Landing, so if you haven’t read the first book and you don’t want spoilers about what happens in this book, you probably shouldn’t read this review.
As with so many books, the back of this book was actually annoying and gave away too much of the last quarter of the book. I wish the back of the book had just went with the first two paragraphs: “Abducted by the alien Catteni, Kris Bjornsen was one of many humans brought to the planet Botany as part of an experiment to see if it could support life. Enslaved and forced to colonize a world not their own, the settlers have accepted Botany as their home – a home worth fighting for … Kris’ people have learned that the aliens responsible for their imprisonment are merely mercenaries, subjugated by the parasitic Eosi race, and that Botany is being farmed remotely by some unknown species – a species that may be sympathetic to the colonists’ struggle for freedom.”
I’m reminded more and more of Falling Skies with every one of these books that I finish. You’ve got a whole race of aliens who think they’re superior to all the other people in the universe so they go around letting “inferior” aliens do all their dirty work, like colonization and being slave-drivers and all that. Some aliens have more technology than others while the people of Earth are taken back to a much less technologically advanced state. The alien overlords in both sets have rather extensive mental powers and are working to conquer the galaxy, mostly just because they can. They feel it’s their right to do so because they are superior.
I guess one of the reasons why I enjoy both this series and Falling Skies so much is that both series seem to bring out the best of what humanity has to offer. It’s about bonding and family and taking care of the people who matter to you. Both series also clearly demonstrate why any sentient species elsewhere in the galaxy would do best to steer clear of Earth. We Terrans tend to be a resourceful, belligerent lot who can create many things with a minimal amount of resources. We don’t take well with outsiders telling us what to do and we fight back in every way imaginable, and some that aren’t.
Freedom’s Choice picks up where Freedom’s Landing left off, but it really felt to me that the main focus of this part of the story wasn’t the impending Phase Two of their rebellion, but more the necessity of procreation. This is where the book and series got really uncomfortable for me. What if I was stranded on an alien planet and the other members of the colony expected me to contribute to the gene pool just because I’m a woman of child-bearing age? While, in theory, I would understand the need to make sure the gene pool is as diverse as possible for future planning and generations, that’s not something I want in my life. And I’m not even sure it’s something I could actually accomplish. Having children has never been on my list of things I want for my life, and being abducted by aliens and dropped on a foreign planet likely wouldn’t change that. So at what point do the needs of the future and the many outweigh the needs of the one? Oddly, this situation and the possibilities make me very uncomfortable.
I’m intrigued by the nature of the Eosi and the manner they are attempting to deal with the concerns the Farmers represent. The sections that deal with the Eosi are very concise, even though a lot happens in them. And the sections with the Farmers are very methodical and unique. So each alien section is vastly different and I really got the feeling for the personality types of both alien species throughout the story.
Just like with Freedom’s Landing, Freedom’s Choice really picks up in the last quarter of the book. That’s where all the really fascinating stuff starts happening and I’m glad that I have the third book in the series ready to go because of the ending of the second book. The last few pages of this book are definitely heart-wrenching.
Overall, with the exception on the entire pregnancy stuff, I’d say this book is a solid three on my rating list. I’m glad I own it and it was a good science fiction read, also helping me with some of my own ideas and research.