The Creative Fire (Book One of Ruby's Song)

Ruby Martin is a Grey, one of the worker class inhabitants of the generational colony space ship, The Creative Fire. She lives in the same habitat as her parents and their parents before them, goes to work repairing robots and hangs out with her friends, Onor and Marcelle. The Reds, the security class, enforce strict rules to ensure order, sometimes with brutality, other times with distaste. Ruby sings, as well, with a voice that expresses her beauty of spirit to all who hear it.

Then one day the roof falls in, quite literally. There's a breech between levels, and a mysterious Blue named Fox falls, injured, into the park where Ruby had been sitting. She learns about the unfair hierarchy on the space ship; she learns the Fire is headed to a planet called Adiamo; she learns that the ship society hasn't always been this stratified. Ruby joins a resistance faction, falls in and out of love with Fox and tries to stay one step ahead of the unseen powers of the space ship to free her people from a life of drudgery and near-slavery.

Brenda Cooper presents many interesting ideas and themes, and writes characters with complex motivations and feelings. While The Creative Fire spends more time in dealing with Ruby's love interests than some science fiction readers might prefer, this first installment in a planned multi-volume series will hold their interest from beginning to end. --Rob LeFebvre, freelance writer and editor

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