Friday Reads: “Station Eternity” The Midsolar Murders Series by Mur Lafferty

Station Eternity by Mur Lafferty is combination cozy mystery and science fiction, combining both, very well.  In what’s usually termed near future, Mallory Viridian is a murder magnet.  However, in real life, being one makes you a suspect, not a “charming amateur detective” (book blurb), your friends and relatives shun you, and you fear for their lives. 

Despite being able to solve nearly all of the murders around her, and prove her own innocence, she can’t join law enforcement or become a private detective.  She finally has enough of life on Earth, and moves off Earth to Station Eternity, a sentient space station.

First contact officially occurred shortly before this time with Adrian Casserly-Berry who becomes the human ambassador to Station Eternity.  On Earth, he had become an expert in several languages and a professor at a university.  He’s always made lists of things he hates. Very long lists. He is, unfortunately, an awful choice to be ambassador. 

Station Eternity by Mur Lafferty

And while first contact had occurred, no restrictions on sightseers and vacationers are in place, so aliens are visiting, without warning, and in random parts of our world.  Which is how Xan (Alexander) Morgan, winds up abducted by a trio of rock like Gnies humanoids, who are on a quick trip to Earth. The one drunk on lava has decided to pick him up as a pet, or something.  Since he’s in the army, he’s AWOL, a murder witness, possible suspect, and an alien abductee.  No probing is done, but a translating bug is inserted in his ear, so he can understand the aliens around him.  Their trip to Earth is a quick one, to Earth and right back to Eternity Station, no side trips.  All of which is a subject of conversation among the three Gneis. 

So, three humans on the station, two officially, several aliens of different types, most with intelligent symbionts of some kind. The soon to arrive shuttle full of humans makes Mallory panic, because, of course, murder victims and murderers are the probable result of them coming here.  Xan doesn’t really see the harm (doesn’t believe her.) And Adrian attempts to capture Mallory, to give to whoever is coming on the shuttle. In addition, possibly he already knows his replacement is on it. 

In the meantime, the aliens grumble about the strange, wet, humans, and distrust them for their lack of symbionts.  Start Trek, this isn’t. But it is a fun, different world, and well built. The three Gneiss from the abduction of Xan are friends, but one of them is being kept on the station against her will by her grandfather, who has become a shuttle. (Yes, a Gneis rock person became a functioning space going vessel.) She’s come up with a plan to move on to be mobile herself, but it will upset the entire population of her people on the station. 

Then the station’s symbiont is murdered, just as the shuttle from Earth arrives, and is attacked, leaving only 11 survivors. It spirals quickly out of hand from there. It’s an entertaining read, difficult to explain past “cozy mystery and science fiction blend”, but even more interesting for being complex.

Next in the series, Terminal Chaos is out, just as wild a ride as the first title.

Station Eternity, Midsolar Murders Series, by Mur Lafferty, 2022, Ace, an imprint of Penguin, Trade Paperback, 453 pages, $17 ISBN 978-0-593-09811-0

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