In The Undefeated we have a lovely novella with a leisurely pace by Una McCormack. This space opera is an introspective reminiscent view of a sixty-year-old's life. The novella blends science fiction life on other planets, colonialism's rise and fall, and an eerie near-apocalyptic setting.
The science fiction novella in the far future in which a woman travels to her childhood home as war looms between humans and modified humans called "jenjers" that humans have enslaved. Much of the story is the protagonist Monica and her homecoming. I enjoyed the lyrical writing style and the journey Monica takes back to her childhood home and the look back at her and her home town's earlier life. The woman journalist main character's journey back to the fallen paradise of her youth is opened to us layer by layer.
Monica is a strong female that realizes that humans never fully knew when they were going to upset the genetically superior race and set off their eventual downfall. By the time that people realize the hatred they have bred in the genetically modified organisms, it is too late. While the author never actually explains what makes a jenjer, the hints she gives is that people were playing God with human criminals and genetically engineered them. I would have loved to read more about the class conflict with the jenjer but there is just enough that kept me mesmerized.
The Undefeated asks readers to tread lightly and not step upon those whom you think are below your station. I recommend this book of imaginary empires because it is timely, haunting, and softly subversive.