It takes a certain type to crew a ship that drops you seven years at a time into the Deep. Kite-class cargo ships like Menkalinan get burned-out veterans, techs who’ve been warned off-planet, medics who weren’t much good on the ground. The Gliese-D run isn’t quite the end of the line, but it’s getting there. No cachet, no rewards, no future; their trading posts get Kites full of cargo that the crew never ask questions about, because if it’s headed for Gliese-D, it’s probably something nobody wanted.
A year into the Deep, Amadis Reyes wakes up. Menkalinan is sounding the alarm; something’s wrong. The rest of the crew are dead.
That’s not even what’s wrong.
Valentine, a 2012 Crawford Award winner for Mechanique, spins an effectively brooding novella out of familiar hard SF elements…With only the ship’s AI as company, and supplies that won’t last her until Gliese, Amadis struggles to maintain some degree of physical and mental health, a challenge exacerbated by her suspicions that the four deaths were murders. Valentine neatly offers tantalizing dollops of backstory for the likable protagonist, accompanied by both noir-like prose and subtle construction of a dystopian future. Publisher’s Weekly, starred review
“the manner in which Valentine overlays these themes and voices, like an increasingly complex Renaissance motet, is masterful, and it makes Dream Houses, despite its familiar surface trappings, the most unexpected fugue on a space adventure that I’ve seen in quite a while.” Locus Magazine