In Remembrance of Home
In Remembrance of Home is the story of a young man coming of age. After contact with an alien race, humanity entered a golden age. The technology of the Ixions let humans quit their wars and create marvels. They branched out and began terraforming the moon. Genetic engineering let them wipe out most disease and save those thought unsaveable. But the Ixions had a secret, a disease so horrific it pushed humans to the brink of extinction. Human and Ixions clashed, and the Earth was lost, leaving only the stranded people of the moon.
It has been over two hundred years since the moon has become isolated. Carter Ryan has never known anything but the lush lunar surface. However, he has one link to the old days. He is a carrier of the deadly Centurian fever, and without daily inoculations, he would die and possibly infect the rest of the colony as well. He is now old enough to join in Compulsory Service, the constant vigil to prevent the Ixion threat from ever returning.
Life in the military is hard, for Carter more then most. But when a fellow cadet has Carter take his place in the gun turrets, Carter finds himself promoted. His new position opens new opportunities to him, including finding out more about his background, who his real parents were, and why he has never shown a symptom of Centurian fever. But finding out these secrets may mean paying more than Carter realizes.
Combining genres of books is always a gamble, but Deutsch manages quite ably. Bouncing between coming-of-age, war and sci-fi, without becoming mired down, in one is quite the trick. Even the plot twist at the end, while not entirely unexpected, was well done and had tight writing. The only complaint I might have is the lack of difference between characters. Early in the book, Carter faces off with an unfriendly individual at the base and describes him as “about the same height and build, same color eyes and hair….”. While this was probably done to accentuate the similarity between them, Carter’s description wasn’t fleshed out yet, so you get the feeling of two stick figures facing off. Deutch missed a perfect opportunity to help fill in the details. You get the same feeling with almost everyone in the book. Only slight details are different. It might be argued that, with the small gene pool, genetic and cultural differences faded. But even that rings hollow. There is no more real cultural difference in a colony on the moon that has been isolated for 200 years than there is at a military base in the fields of Kansas. The technology hasn’t advanced much, and people talk and act more or less identically to modern-day Americans. But even that is aside from the main plot line.
I look forward to the sequels to In Remembrance of Home and would recommend this book to anyone who wants a light sci-fi story.