Acadie by Dave Hutchinson

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Best known for his Fractured Europe trilogy (though I’m more familiar with his other SF novella, The Push), Dave Hutchinson brings a short Space Opera tale to life in this excellent novella from Tor.com Publishing. Acadie is the story of Duke Farady and his job to evacuate the Writers from their home system following its discovery by the Bureau…

acadie

The first humans still hunt their children across the stars. Dave Hutchinson brings far future science fiction on a grand scale in Acadie.

The Colony left Earth to find their utopia–a home on a new planet where their leader could fully explore the colonists’ genetic potential, unfettered by their homeworld’s restrictions. They settled a new paradise, and have been evolving and adapting for centuries.

Earth has other plans.

The original humans have been tracking their descendants across the stars, bent on their annihilation. They won’t stop until the new humans have been destroyed, their experimentation wiped out of the human gene pool.

Can’t anyone let go of a grudge anymore?

Acadie has a simple premise where outlaw scientists who simply want to modify themselves however they wish, yet in escaping the Bureau – humanity’s government –  they steal a colony ship full of colonists. However, the option for these colonists to return home after being woken from suspension seems to alleviate this issue, but the Bureau will not let it rest, determined to chase them down and capture them for their crime.

Hutchinson manages to weave a tale that is far more than the sum of its parts, delivering some great worldbuilding in a short page count, and also creating some memorable characters in which to tell this story. Duke, our main focus, is a former Bureau employee who left and joined the Writers, and is now President – though not through his choice! He is left to deal with the arrival of a Bureau probe and to make the decision on how to handle it, ultimately enacting the Writers’ evacuation option, seeing it out to the end…

While the first 2/3rds of Acadie are nicely told and hook you completely, it’s when it hits the final 1/3rd that a twist hits the story and makes you do a double take. In fact, this is so effective that I went back to the start and had another quick read through to see if I could spot any of the clues left along the way now I knew where it was going. Hutchinson nailed this perfectly!

Acadie is a quick and well paced novella, packing plenty into its page count. Definitely recommended, and highly enjoyed.

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