Book Review: Our Child Of The Stars by Stephen Cox

Our Child of the Stars

Our Child of the Stars is a refreshing adventure which follows alien child Cory and his adoptive Earth parents Molly and Gene, two American sweethearts who are products of the 1960s political upheaval in the United States.

The book starts off as a very soft SF, almost a fantasy, and then, as the book progresses, it plunges us into some very dark and wild places as the full extent of what Cory is and is capable of becomes apparent.

Stephen Cox’s writing is very crisp and clean, and his characters are mostly rounded and well-fleshed out. The most complete character by far is Cory himself, who emanates (at times literally) the fear and wonder of being a child, despite being one not of this world. He is at turns charming, petulant, observant, excitable and curious, and drives the whole book.

Of the parents, Molly is by far the more interesting character, being a contradiction of very flowery, idealistic politics and a dark wound at the centre of her soul that drives her to do things she would never ordinarily do. But then, when one becomes a parent, things are no longer ordinary.

My only disappointment was the character of Pfeiffer, the Government stooge who wants to capture Cory for “the good of America”, before those pesky commie Ruskies get their paws on him. Pfeiffer is pretty unidimensional, serving as the plot’s Black Hat but with little else to distinguish him as a sympathetic character, despite the appearance of his nefarious behaviour. But perhaps this reflects the very black-and-white view of 60s politics, and also the stark binary politics of our own age, where one either belongs to the right side or the wrong side, and to hell with the nuance in between. If so, it’s a very astute but sobering reflection.

As the two superpowers collide in the wider world, a conflict which spills over into Cory’s own little world, Cox puts on some tense set pieces which peel back the layers of this delightful little alien boy, and gives us a finale of great skill and entertainment. 

Published by Dan Jones

I'm a science fiction writer and podcaster. My debut novel Man O’War was published in 2018 by Snowbooks, and I’ve had a few short stories published here and there. I also host Chronscast, the official podcast of SFF Chronicles, the world's largest science-fiction and fantasy community. Away from writing I work for the UK Space Agency on a programme of space robotics for advanced satellite and planetary exploration technologies. All of which comes in rather handy when coming up with new ideas for science fiction stories.

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