“Aboard Chawla. Nedda Papas rose to birdsong, the sharp, rasping call of a dusky seaside sparrow against a backdrop of waves - a reminder of home and things she’d never see again.”
I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and those are the first lines of Erika Swyler’s science fiction novel Light From Other Stars.
The story alternates between two periods in Nedda Papas’ life: 1986 when she is 11 and dreams of being an astronaut and 2046 when she is now 28 and realized her dream. She is on a lifetime mission with three others to reach Mars and begin to colonize it.
In the decades between the two periods her father makes a mess of a science experiment of his own. Her father, Theo, laid off from NASA, is desperate to invent a way to extend his daughter’s life. His experiment goes horribly awry and causes the demise of a whole community and alters the fabric of time. It is up to Nedda and her scientist mother to stop the experiment and save the town of Easter.
Sixty years later, as an adult traveling in space, Nedda and her crewmates face a serious crisis that, once again, only she and her mother can solve.
The author has dedicated her book to the Hubble Space Telescope and to all the teachers who wrongly thought that a fifth-grade girl could not speak knowledgeably about it.
If you watch those movies where they mess with the concept of time and if you are intrigued by the idea of long distance space travel and how the lack of gravity can change the human body , then you must read Light From Other Stars by Erika Swyler.