ARC Review: ANOTHER LIFE by Sarena Ulibarri (2023)

Genre: Adult Science Fiction
Year Release: May 25, 2023
Buy Link: Stelliform Press

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Read an eARC from the publisher
Content Warnings: state violence, climate disaster

Galacia Aguirre is Mediator of Otra Vida, a city of communal living and equivalent exchange that exists on the shores of what was once Death Valley. In the lead-up to her re-election, a colleague of hers reveals to have discovered a way to discover past lives. Unfortunately, Galacia’s past life is of the man who might have singularly spurred the climate decline of the planet. This novella will appeal to fans of the Monk & Robot books by Becky Chambers in the way it offers a compassionate and forgiving approach to working through the sins of humanity’s past and how personal mistakes don’t necessarily doom the present.

An interview with the author will be going up on May 25, 2023.

The world-building in this novella is so good. If you’re looking for something that’s post-corporate, post-capitalist but fully explores the complexities of that transition, this is the book for you. Galacia is a character who is almost omniscient in her presence, as she had been one of the founders of Otra Vida. There is still some sense of class hierarchy in the sense that those who had been there from the beginning have a different relationship with the quasi-utopian project. There are political tensions that escalate violently, and the way the narrative weaves in new technology that’s dangerous from a social standpoint is really thoughtful. Nothing in this work is black and white, but is infused with a hopefulness that keeps the work from feeling gray moral or even nihilistic. The approach is very grounded, despite the imaginative future tech.

There are references to reincarnation and the after life from a Jewish and Buddhist perspective, but I do not have the range to comment on how Ulibarri approaches this topic. But, instead of taking a literal approach, I really enjoyed how the novella explores the application and responsibility in applying new technologies to solve current problems. While the stakes are very personal in that Galacia is trying to win election in her role, the concepts and themes feel wider than the scope of just Otra Vida, or even this futuristic version of the United States.

A work that presents a post-capitalist society working through growing pains that still resonate in the present, I found this read to be thoughtful and compassionate in its exploration of humanity’s relationship to technology, nature, and each other.


2 thoughts on “ARC Review: ANOTHER LIFE by Sarena Ulibarri (2023)

  1. Pingback: Author to Author with Sarena Ulibarri (Another Life) | Jo Writes Fantasy

  2. Pingback: May 2023 Reading Recap | Jo Writes Fantasy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s