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Goldilocks by Laura Lam #BookReview

The Earth is in environmental collapse. The future of humanity hangs in the balance. But a team of women are preparing to save it. Even if they’ll need to steal a spaceship to do it.

Despite increasing restrictions on the freedoms of women on Earth, Valerie Black is spearheading the first all-female mission to a planet in the Goldilocks Zone, where conditions are just right for human habitation.

The team is humanity’s last hope for survival, and Valerie has gathered the best women for the mission: an ace pilot who is one of the only astronauts ever to have gone to Mars; a brilliant engineer tasked with keeping the ship fully operational; and an experienced doctor to keep the crew alive. And then there’s Naomi Lovelace, Valerie’s surrogate daughter and the ship’s botanist, who has been waiting her whole life for an opportunity to step out of Valerie’s shadow and make a difference.

The problem is that they’re not the authorized crew, even if Valerie was the one to fully plan the voyage. When their mission is stolen from them, they steal the ship bound for the new planet.

But when things start going wrong on board, Naomi begins to suspect that someone is concealing a terrible secret — and realizes time for life on Earth may be running out faster than they feared . . .

Goldilocks is a bold and thought-provoking new thriller for readers of The Martian and The Handmaid’s Tale.

Goldilocks by Laura Lam

Title: Goldilocks | Author: Laura Lam | Publisher: Orbit | Release Date: 2020-May-5 | ISBN13: 9781472267641 | Pages: 352 | Language: English | Source: I received a copy from Netgalley for review consideration | Starred Review.

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Goldilocks Review

Goldilocks is a raw look at a near-future that feels too close to our reality right now. It is in many ways a difficult read, and I had to set it down several times. I read fiction to escape, and Laura Lam brought our reality right back to my doorstop with this book. It was a good read, but I cannot say that I found it a particularly enjoyable one for that reason.

However, I have to give the author credit. She did a solid job in several areas (including believability!). This is a book about a group of women that steal a spacecraft to escape from a from a country sliding back into an age where women were meant to be kept barefoot and submissive on a dying planet to a brighter future on another world, and it wasn’t a man-hating bitchfest. It also wasn’t a book that was all Ra-Ra! Women Are Perfect, either. It would have been easy to fall on either side of that line, but she did not.

She includes a cast this is diverse, both in race, nationality, and sexuality. The only downfall here is that none of the characters except their communications person really ever developed defined looks inside my head. They were just sort of amorphous characters relaying the dialogue that they were given. At one point when it was mentioned (probably again, to be honest) that one of the characters was black, I was like “Wait, what?” And considering that the majority of the book revolves around just 5 people in close proximity, you’d think there’d be some more definition there.

I read science fiction primarily for hope (when I’m not seeking out sci-fi horror, that is). Goldilocks is not a story I would link the word hope with. It’s a story of perseverance, of good against evil, and of the main character realizing that almost everything she had thought true pertaining to one certain thing in her life was horribly wrong. Most of the story is tense enough to make your muscles tighten up enough that the thriller label is a well-earned one.

For a long part of my reading experience, I honestly wasn’t sure where things were headed in regards to the larger picture. As blunt as Lam was with the set up and looking at the stupidity, deceit, and underhanded politics, I didn’t know if I could expect a feel-good type of ending. I liked that.

This is a timely novel with a release date that is somewhere between scary and unfortunate, especially given one of the events in the book. Lam is a talented writer and I hope to see many people pick up Goldilocks and give it a try, though this is not a story to make you forget the world around you. It’s a story that reminds you with just a couple steps to the right, this world could get so much worse.

You can purchase this book by following the buyers links on its Goodreads page. However, in the interest of promoting literacy programs, we recommend trying to purchase the book through BetterWorldBooks, which donates to various literacy programs with every purchase.

Content Warnings:

Abortion, Miscarriage, Maternal Death, Paternal Death

Published inScience Fiction Book ReviewsStarred Reviews


  1. It sounds interesting, but perhaps not to read right now. Thanks, Lilyn.

    • Yeah. Need some distance from everything.

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