Exoplanetary

On the Ninth Day: @exoplanetarypod. I wonder if growing up an only child gave me a weird fascination for stories that focus on unusual family dynamics. Exoplanetary opens with two brothers having a casual chat about seducing each other’s wives. That certainly sets a tone.

The dialogue flies by with character banter, and most characters are sharp and witty. It reminds me a little of Asimov’s Lucky Starr books.

One of my favourite, and fairly unique aspects of Exoplanetary, are the occasions when the protagonist will reference something “in universe” and we get a cut to hearing exactly what is being referenced, from a jingle to a commercial to propaganda. It’s so much richer than just giving a description and is a really fun way to add flavour to the galaxy.

The show strikes a good balance between keeping the universe familiar enough that we can imagine it as a possible future (oh no, cola wars are still a thing), and showcasing enough fantastical technology that it feels faraway and distant.

The first protagonist we meet is Alice, an “everywoman”. Alice is presented with an interesting offer: get paid to travel further than any human ever has and see things no one has ever seen. The only thing is, will it still be her when she reaches the end of her journey? Can you truly store a person in a machine? Make a copy? Questions like this continue through the series as the story stretches to include Alice’s siblings.

Exoplanetary is a good scifi meal. Listening to it gives me the same feeling I get in the used bookstore pulling dog-eared works out of a bin. It’s like a lost gem.