Author: Jilly Paddock
Price: $1.99 (ebook)
Publisher: Cathaven Press
Point of Sale: Amazon
Reviewed by: Chris Gerrib
I frankly don’t remember how I found out about Jilly Paddock’s novella No Earthly Shore, but I did, and I’m glad of it. Set in a far-future universe, this gentle story is that of Dr. Zuzana Aaron-Jones, Zuzu to her friends, and Boadicea Nantucket, Boodie to her friends.
Boodie is a young teenager on the human-colonized world Yemitzov Five, and she claims that the squilts – masses of gray tissue that float in the local oceans – saved her from drowning. More importantly, she claims the squilts are sentient, which could force the human colonists to pack up and leave. Dr. Zuzu and a team arrive from Earth, and quickly start to investigate. While they are investigating, romance blooms.
I found this novella near perfect. There’s conflict, both between the Earth team members and internally (Zuzu doesn’t want the humans to have to pack up and leave) but no great violence. The characters are well-rounded, and although the colony bears a striking resemblance to an English seacoast village, the setting worked. I found myself at the end of the work wishing for more.