Award-winning speculative fiction writer Jo Walton explores futuristic science fiction in Poor Relations, a tale of relentless social climbing throughout the solar system.
Described by Walton as “Mansfield Park on Mars,” Poor Relations is an eye-opening exploration of social and financial precarity, deeply pertinent to today.
“When it came down to it, you couldn’t legislate against the economics of sex and gender any more than you could legislate against people being poor.”
It’s the twenty-fourth century. Humanity has spread throughout the solar system—but for most of us, life is as precarious as it was in Dickensian England. Brothers Achille, Marcantonio, and Nore have been raised rich, but after their father spends the family fortune and puts a laser to his head, they’re forced to face facts. The wealthy Luke Bailey is willing to pay top dollar for what’s left of their estate, enough to buy Achille a commission in the space Navy. But only if Marcantonio and Nore will both become female—Marcantonio to marry Luke, and Nore to be their spinster housekeeper, for as long as Luke lives.
Over the next two decades, the now-female Marcantonio and Nore struggle to make lives for themselves in the service of their wealthy keeper.
Then the alien invasion arrives.
Poor Relations tackles familiar themes of hierarchy and oppression in a science fiction setting, depicting a world in which one’s biological sex can be easily reversed, but in which that flexibility has come to be used as a tool to make people more unequal rather than less.
In addition to being one of only two writers to win the Hugo, the Nebula, and the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel (the other is Ursula K. Le Guin), Jo Walton has also won the Tiptree Award and the ALA’s RUSA Award (for My Real Children), the Locus Award (for What Makes This Book So Great), the Mythopoeic Award (for Lifelode), the Prometheus Award (for Ha’penny), several RT Book Review Critic’s Choice Awards, and many others.
Poor Relations arrives February 2018.