Remnant Population

Elizabeth Moon
Remnant Population Cover

Remnant Population


Remnant Population – Elizabeth Moon

4.5 Stars

Excellent book! I am not sure how I missed this one, but I highly recommend it. This book explores the issues of the dismissal of the elderly as being too old and out of touch with current trends to be useful to society, the arrogance of the human race in thinking that it is superior to all other beings (a metaphor for the technologically developed countries looking down on countries considered developing or third world), and the promotion of those without true leadership skills.

Ofelia's colony is being moved. Because she is old and not considered productive, her adult son and his wife will have to pay for her passage to the new colony. Not really happy with her life, having to deal with her pompous son and his demanding wife, and not really wanting to start over with them in a new place, she decides to stay. She hides in the forest when the shuttles leave. And so begins her solitary existence. She enjoys it. Yes, she is lonely at times, but she does prefer this life to her former life as part of the colony.

Everything changes when she overhears a disastrous attempt at a second colonization in which indigenous beings kill the landing party. She meets these creatures who are native to the world when they come exploring. How the colonists never met them in the colony's forty year existence is a mystery - perhaps because the colony is frequently flooded and hit by hurricanes? This is a weakness in the story, but despite it, the book is still excellent.

Even though she sometimes wishes for her solitary existence, Ofelia teaches the indigenous beings her language and technology and learns their language and customs. She finds that she enjoys being around them. When the humans come back to investigate the native beings, they find an old human woman has already made first contact. After the “politically correct” procedures, arrogant on the part of the humans, don't necessarily work to establish their treaty, they find that not all species consider their elderly as worthless and that humans are not necessarily going to be the dominant species on another world.