Science Fiction has a way of (in)forming our future reality, and “I Want the Stars” is no exception. Here, Tom Purdom has conceptualized a world that in the 1960s would have seemed unimaginable except among the rebels, one where humanity has transcended war, monogamy, and stigma around mental health care. However, this brilliant utopia and extensive lifespan lacks in one area… adventure. This is where we meet our protagonist, Jenordan, and his fellow shipmates. Jenordan’s search for meaning and, more importantly, feeling in the universe is one that resonates, especially as he finds himself among the Borg–a species who claims to have all the answers.
The story opens on the action, 800 years from now(ish). After gaining my bearings amongst out-of-this-world names, I found Purdom’s writing easy to digest. Jenordan is a starfarer, and in a shockingly relatable way, finds having all of the information of the known universe available at his fingertips… a little boring. He doesn’t know what it means to fear death, and he fears never knowing.
The species he and his team meet among the stars are well crafted and unique, but still in many ways representations of our own human nature. These threats are existential; have we truly evolved? Will we continue to, in order to survive a mind-controlling species? And do the Borg, as they claim, have all the answers?
A true scifi novel, “I Want the Stars” is a quick and fun read which, if anything, feels like it ends too soon (and a little abruptly, though interesting information was provided about cutting the story down to 40k words at the last minute). This slightly confusing end brings my rating down a star, but otherwise, this was a fun read!
My rating: 4/5 🌟