This post is part of a blog tour organised by Random Things Blog Tours. I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest review.
‘Lennox is a troubled teenager with no family. Ava is eight months pregnant and fleeing her abusive husband. Heather is a grieving mother and cancer sufferer. They don’t know each other, but when a meteor streaks over Edinburgh, all three suffer instant, catastrophic strokes…
‘…only to wake up the following day in hospital, miraculously recovered.
‘When news reaches them of an octopus-like creature washed up on the shore near where the meteor came to earth, Lennox senses that some extra-terrestrial force is at play. With the help of Ava, Heather and a journalist, Ewan, he rescues the creature they call “Sandy” and goes on the run.
‘But they aren’t the only ones with an interest in the alien… close behind are Ava’s husband, the police and a government unit who wants to capture the creature, at all costs. And Sandy’s arrival may have implications beyond anything anyone could imagine…’
In The Space Between Us, by Doug Johnstone, an unlikely trio of heroes have medical episodes that defy unexplanation, then go on the lam to help an extraterrestrial cephalopod evade those who wish to harm it, and reunite with the larger organism it belongs to.
Along the way, Lennox, Ava and Heather form new bonds among themselves and with the life form Lennox christens “Sandy”; revive old connections with the people they call for help along the way; and find ways to heal - both physically and emotionally.
I enjoyed reading The Space Between Us, and would recommend it to a cross-section of readers.
Quite aside from the highly imaginative sci-fi element, the threat posed by both the authorities and Ava’s abusive husband means there’s almost constant tension and a lot at stake.
The heroes’ respective circumstances give Sandy opportunities to interact with very human problems on our home ground. The road trip element allows us to explore the three main characters’ personalities and histories, making the resolutions they reach all the more meaningful and moving.
As a young person who’s never known his family, Lennox has considerably less backstory to flesh out, so it makes sense that his story is more present- and future-focussed those of Ava and Heather, as he develops the first and strongest connection with Sandy and finds in them something to be passionate about and fight for.
I never thought I’d consider a multi-tentacled alien to be “sweet”, but the way Sandy connected with and helped each of their rescuers, their “voice”, and their peaceful intentions were so lovely and touching. This throws government agent Fellowes’ nefarious mission to capture Sandy at all costs in order to do god-knows-what to them into even sharper relief.
This also raises wider questions about how people would react if aliens actually did make contact with us - with genuine curiosity and attempts at understanding, or with fear and a compulsion to dominate and eliminate a potential threat?
Are our “leaders” the best people to represent us to extraterrestrial visitors, or would “ordinary” people some are quick to write off - in this case, teenagers in care, battered wives, and the terminally ill - be better examples of the range, resourcefulness, and strength of humanity, and more open to what they have to say to and offer us?
The Space Between Us is gritty, exciting, and strangely adorable.