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Publisher's Summary

When the world ends, where will you go?

In a breathtakingly vivid and emotionally gripping debut novel, one woman must confront the emptiness in the universe - and in her own heart - when a devastating virus reduces most of humanity to dust and memories.

All Jamie Allenby ever wanted was space. Even though she wasn't forced to emigrate from Earth, she willingly left the overpopulated, claustrophobic planet. And when a long relationship devolved into silence and suffocating sadness, she found work on a frontier world on the edges of civilization. Then the virus hit.

Now Jamie finds herself dreadfully alone, with all that's left of the dead. Until a garbled message from Earth gives her hope that someone from her past might still be alive.

Soon Jamie finds other survivors, and their ragtag group will travel through the vast reaches of space, drawn to the promise of a new beginning on Earth. But their dream will pit them against those desperately clinging to the old ways. And Jamie's own journey home will help her close the distance between who she has become and who she is meant to be.

©2017 Anne Corlett (P)2017 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

The Space Between the Stars is, ultimately, a kind novel. Strikingly written, with very human characters and a deep concern with human frailty, it is an excellent debut.” (Tor.com)

"Anne Corlett has taken the themes of apocalypse, people attempting to create Utopia but unleashing Armageddon, population engineering and breeding programs, and put her particular stamp on the familiar. The Space Between the Stars is a sci-fi story laced with homey details like e-readers and jigsaw puzzles - there are no esoteric descriptions of warp drives or biodomes or aliens. But there is adventure, there is romance, there is self-discovery.” (Shelf Awareness) 

“With its unique plot and luminous prose, it’s hard to believe that The Space Between the Stars is a debut novel. Anne Corlett understands the complexities and frailties of the human heart and captures it brilliantly on the page. Don’t let the setting fool you - this is a story for any age, combining love, loss, grief, hope, and possibilities all in one delicious book. Definitely one for my keeper shelf.” (Karen White, New York Times best-selling author of The Night the Lights Went Out

What listeners say about The Space Between the Stars

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Universe of therapist psychopaths

For a book about interplanetary travel, it's surprising how much the narrative revolves around the tiny mind of Jamie, the main protagonist. The novel is interesting enough until it gradually devolves into a cliched, ridiculous conglomeration of absurd coincidences and women's novel cliches complete with generic stock charectors that appear in countless other novels, TV shows, and movies. All this is capped off by a climax that engages the most absurd cliches of a Marvel movie and an epilogue **spoiler alert***
that seems to have everyone inexplicably drawn to the northern coast of England.


Besides Jamie's endless whining contrasted with moments of silly emotion, the rest of the cast exists solely to serve as therapists and provocateurs for Jamie as she plums the depths of her laundry list of generic complexities without ever learning anything or growing or changing.

Hardly a tear is shed by any character for the untold billions of humans who have died at the hands of a virus, but Jamie sheds plenty of tears for her own bewilderment and loneliness, constantly complaining about the shortcomings of people in her life (as we the readers discover little by little that the people who she seems to have hurt by were by and large lovely people).

Still, the novel kept my interest until about halfway through. And the author certainly has a gift for description and language. It's a pity the plot is so thin, that the main protagonist is so self absorbed, and that the other characters are so paper thin, cliched, and one dimensional.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Sci fi without wars

I just wanted some sci to that wasn't all wars, interstellar battles or YA fiction. This fit the bill. The protagonist does get a bit bothersome, there are some cliches, but it's end of the world done in a quieter, more contemplative way. Not a fabulous book, but I'm a getting a little tired of military space thrillers, grimdark monotony, YA books and rehashed that anything a bit more character based and written for an adult is refreshing. Plus, loved the narrator. Can anyone recommend science based sci to that isn't military and has some original premises????

4 people found this helpful

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Literary fiction with a sci-fi veneer...

…that fails miserably at both.

I read both sci-fi (especially fond of the post-apocalyptic, which this purports to be) and literary fiction so this could have been a winner for me. Instead, it ties with Roanoke Girls for the worst novel I’ve read this year.

When I dislike a book this intensely, I feel like I should give examples to illustrate why it’s so bad, but nobody likes spoilers. Check out some of the reviews on Goodreads if you want concrete examples.

What worked: Good writing.

What didn’t work: Everything else.

The main character, Jamie, is just insufferable. She’s dislikes most people (and 99.9999% of the population is dead) yet is a huge crusader for human rights. She obsesses endlessly over her miscarriage. The world ended. Is this really what someone would think about? Wouldn’t worrying about survival be a little more top of mind? She’s standoffish, *itchy, irrational, prickly, overwrought. What else? She also obsesses about whether or not she love the man she was with for 13 years.

Her behavior toward just about everyone is appalling. She does like the autistic teenager. Because every book must have someone autistic these days. I could forgive her behavior towards the religious fanatic. Though I wish the author had done a better job with the fanatic who was also wholly unlikeable and crazy. So tiresome.

Jamie's reactions to so many things are just ridiculous and unbelievable. I said no spoilers, so here’s an analogous example. You’ve had a dog for years, and then one day you totally freak out at the sight of your dog, kick it, and go running from the room. And somehow someone watching you is just supposed to say, “Oh, normal reaction”?

The happy or not so happy “coincidences” are utterly unrealistic. Couldn’t suspend my disbelief. And some of the decisions that are made are…well, a ten-year-old would have made better decisions.

The author chose to write this with a first person narrator. Very unfortunate since I detested Jamie. If it had been third person, at least the reader could be in someone else’s head too. Instead, there’s endless descriptions of her confusion, spiraling thoughts, etc. etc. Again, so tiresome.

The first 80% of the book was tiresome, really. The last 20% was ok.

Last is the audio narrator, who clearly is not all that familiar with American English accents. Well, I should say the accent she did (for the ship captain) wasn’t bad, but there are so many words where the stress falls on a completely different syllable in British English and American English. So all the mispronunciations pulled me out of the story. Just one more annoying thing.

6 people found this helpful

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insubstantial

I found the story pretty disappointing. As far as science goes it was very weak. It might as well have just been an Earth based story because the author didn't seem to comprehend space. Space did were just glorified planned. Land them and hook up the fuel hose to refuel. And then just pop over to the next planet without realizing that the planet was light years away. There just want much here other than a post apocalyptic survivor story with minimal drama and lots of angst.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Interesting.

You know how it is when you are younger and you are too shy or too loud and awkward or just don't fit in for whatever reason? You tell yourself (or at least I did) that when you grow up you will figure out how to fix your oddities and everyone will do the same for themselves so then things will be better you will fit in. However, when you do grow up, you find that you and everyone else is much the same. Your psychosis or mal-adaptations still exist. Well, this book is finding out that even at the end of the world we are all much the same as much as we would think we would change and get over our obsessions because death and survival are that much more pressing. Interesting.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Space Between the Pages...

If you could sum up The Space Between the Stars in three words, what would they be?

Came up short.

What about Mary Woodvine’s performance did you like?

I hear a lot of narrators as I have been listening to audio books for many years. Her reading and interpretation of the book was perfect, she did not distract from the story at all, but instead made the journey very enjoyable.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes.

Any additional comments?

Although I feel something came up short on this book and I can't put my finger on it, I actually really enjoyed the book. I was really expecting a bit more drama then was given, but in all honesty it was nice to see that not every post-apocalyptic story has to be full of evil humans. There seems to be some unfinished business in this book. I am guessing saving room for a follow up book. Yes... I will definitely be reading that one too!

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Leaves much to be desired

I really tried to like this book as the premise had such potential; a devastating virus decimates earth and the settled frontiers of space leaving small groups who band together trying to make a new life. This has the making of a great story, yet 'The Space Between The Stars' limps along with trite, predictable story lines. As I finished the book, I felt letdown and that my time could have been better spent reading something else.

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Don't waste your time.

The main character is insufferable. Do not waste your time. The narrator has a nice voice.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

14-18, young girls book

This book would be wonderful for a young women. It deals with many of the things that go through the minds of young women.
This is not a great book for middle aged men who the many and changing emotions of women. I am not sure why I finished listening to this book.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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Disappointing

I was really hoping the negative reviews would not be accurate and that I would like this. No. Took a chance when book was in 2 for 1 sale. Very disappointed. This was tagged as dystopian and post apocalyptic .... nope. This was emotional drama with an unlikeable main character that blamed everyone else for her short comings. I made it to the end of the book wishing I had never picked it up.