I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Meet Elizabeth Yeager, "Spacer, machinist, temp." A refugee waiting for a ship to call home, Bet Yeager was once a marine.
Now she's on the run.
In this world Yeager has hit bottom, she's jobless, homeless, and starving on Thule, a nearly abandoned station in the by-passed Hinder Stars. Sleeping in toilets, killing to save her body, stealing to stay alive, she feels her hopes die ... until the Loki docks. It's a spook: a mercenary warship barely legitimated by Alliance documents as a free-lance bounty hunter and spy vessel—a ship whose captain has no qualms about signing on a "machinist" with no papers and a shady past, not to mention murder charges hanging over her head.
Not my favourite Cherryh book, but I still liked it. She has an uncanny knack for exploring aspects of the future that wouldn’t occur to me. Like this book—what happens when you’re a spacer and you lose your job and become homeless? Is it possible to conceal your identity in such an advanced society? Considering that this book was written in the 1980s, when it was considerably easier to take on a new identity, it would be interesting to read something along the same lines written in this century. It would seem to me to be almost impossible to disappear today, though I understand that there are books which give instruction on how to do that—erasing traces of yourself, both physical and electronic.
Bet Yeager is a difficult woman to relate to, but despite that I found myself rooting for her, especially as she started making connections with the people around her, despite herself. Funny how friendship can change the shape of a life, pushing people in different directions than they would normally go.
Rimrunners is a tribute to the power of personal connections to pull people out of difficult situations.