The Last Voyage of Skidbladnir by Karin Tidbeck

The Last Voyage of Skidbladnir by Karin Tidbeck
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (16 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Life on the transdimensional ship Skidbladnir is a strange one. The new janitor, Saga, finds herself in the company of an officious steward-bird, a surly and mysterious engineer, and the shadowy Captain. Who the odd passengers are, and according to what plan the ship travels, is unclear.

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Traveling through interstellar space isn’t always as glamorous as it may seem, especially for low-ranking members of a crew.

Saga was such a relatable main character. While she was a good mechanic, she didn’t have any other special skills or abilities that would allow her to sign up for the truly exciting parts of space travel like exploring new planets. I loved the fact that the author decided to show this universe through the eyes of such an ordinary person. It put a completely different spin on what it must be like to live on a spaceship, and it made me root for her to have a taste of the adventure she craved so strongly.

The only thing I wish had been written differently about this tale was the ending. Part of it was a bit confusing to me because of how quickly the resolution the characters came up with was written. I would have liked to see a little more time spent explaining how their solution actually worked and what they thought the long-term effects of it might be. Other than this minor point, I had a great time reading this and would like to see what the author comes up with next.

Skidbladnir wasn’t like other space ships. While I can’t go into many details about the things that made her stand out from the crowd, I will say that her personality delighted me. She had strong opinions about how the humans used her, and she wasn’t afraid to share them. That alone would have been enough for me to enjoy her. The fact there was far more to her story than a ship being self-aware made this one of the most interesting things I’ve read in ages.

The Last Voyage of Skidbladnir should be read by anyone who has ever dreamed of exploring space without knowing how that might ever happen for them.

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