If you’re into Sci-Fi at all, this one’s a no brainer. In The Light Brigade author Kameron Hurley creates a sadly plausible future in which humans have completely messed up the earth’s environment, the only governments left are run by multinational corporations and everyone is indoctrinated into dedicating their lives to working or fighting for…well, their corporate overlords.
The set up is somewhat familiar but the characters and nuances make this an utterly original read. This is not a simple good verses evil storyline. Hurley takes pains to show how, regardless of the content of your character or how well intentioned you are, it can be extremely difficult to figure out what is virtuous when everything you have ever known is based on the lies of the elite…who you also happen to depend on for survival. The protagonist, Diez, does horrible things believing they are in fact righteous. And the reader fully understands that.
But there is one utopian element to Hurley’s dystopian world: the characters have no experience with sexual discrimination of any kind. In The Light Brigade no one has to come out as bisexual because it’s not something that anyone would think to hide to begin with. No one marvels at the audacity of any individual breaking gender norms because there are no gender norms. Hurley has imagined a future built on social inequality in which, paradoxically, equality between the sexes is taken for granted. It’s all just so natural to the characters it quickly becomes natural to the reader. This is a book that forces you to acknowledge, then shed your biases.
Most importantly, the adventures, twists and turns in this thing are fantastic. There’s so much going on: war, secret agendas, time travel, romance, revenge…and yet none of it feels contrived and in the end it all elegantly ties together in a truly satisfying way.
The Light Brigade is sure to become a Sci-Fi classic. Don’t sleep on this one.