Luckily, it’s a return to form. The Baba Yaga establishes itself very quickly; the humans-only civilisation known as The Expansion is terribly concerned about the threat of the alien threat known as The Weird, so much so that it’s settled its differences with the alien Vetch, a competing species who have their own empire. The story focuses on Delia Walker, a senior officer in The Expansion’s intelligence agency, who is advocating a more measured and tactical approach to deal with the threat of The Weird. The attack on a world very close to The Expansion’s capital throws caution out of the window, and humanity sets a course for its own destruction by going into a full-on war setting. Walker, who has her own motivations for keeping the government from becoming too extreme, goes rogue in order to gather more information on the enemy, information that could well change the nature of the war.
McCormack and Brown keep a steady pace throughout this book, adding more to the Weird Space world as we go. The publisher, Abaddon Books, tends to create worlds for multiple authors to contribute to, yet up until now we’ve only seen books from Eric Brown. McCormack’s voice is refreshing and welcome. This book has more humanity and characterisation than previous books in the series, and the result is a much more engaging work in which we actually like the cast of characters, despite their best efforts to be unpleasant.
The Baba Yaga is a classic sci-fi romp, filled with old school action and clever commentary on our own world. It also works entirely well as a standalone novel, meaning knowing the events of the previous Weird Space books is nice but not required. Overall, this is a lot of fun and well worth a look.
WEIRD SPACE: THE BABA YAGA / AUTHOR: ERIC BROWN, UNA MCCORMACK / PUBLISHER: ABADDON BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: JULY 16TH