In interviews about her role on Star Trek: The Next Generation, actress Whoopi Goldberg has often said that the original Star Trek series gave her hope, because it featured a black woman as a strong role model. While Star Trek imagined a future world where humans have outgrown race discrimination, An Unkindness of Ghosts posits a less hopeful future, one in which humanity travels the universe in a starship run by an elite few who enforce race and class barriers. Aster, a gifted healer, lives in the lower decks, where forced labor and restriction of resources are imposed by the upper-deck rulers. Any attempts at rebellion are punished, and running away is impossible--where can you run in space? For Aster and her fellow passengers, Earth is more a legend than a memory. Her entire life has been lived on the Matilda, a space vessel carrying the remainder of humanity to what they hope will be a new world. Aster’s world changes when she finds her dead mother’s secret journals and learns about Matilda’s inner workings. Perhaps there is a way to change the world, even if it means risking everything.
An Unkindness of Ghosts is a thoughtful science fiction novel that creates a richly imagined and plausible self-contained world that is threatened by the imperfect human society that runs it. Aster, her rebellious friend Giselle, and her upper-deck ally Theo, a revered surgeon, are complex, flawed, but likable characters whose struggle to find a better world will leave readers on edge and rooting for them until the very last page.