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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
In Callisto 2.0 by Susan English, Callisto Collins is a 31-year-old physicist still looking for permanent employment. A mysterious figure named Diana offers her a place onboard Shambhala, a space-based lab orbiting the Moon. She joins the all-female crew who each specializes in a different field of science, finding camaraderie unlike any other, and works diligently to make warp tech possible. But there are outside forces that are determined to stop them, alleging that the group is working on a dangerous project and not the advancement of humanity. What is going on and can the head of the Foundation, the enigmatic Diana, be trusted?
Set in 2097, the concept of Callisto 2.0 seems straightforward at first until the premise is explored as the story progresses. The slow-burn plot gives the opportunity to readers to familiarize themselves with a much-advanced world; the proposed technology and possibility of scientific advancement in every aspect of life is fascinating while highlighting that some old-fashioned ways still work and are preferred by Mother Nature. Yet, it's a world that suffers the same lingering societal issues: some discussion about psychological differences between genders, faith, and repressive societal norms are thought-provoking.
The moderate pace also lets readers get to know the characters, particularly the crew of Shambhala. Callisto, or Calli to her friends, is a shy physicist who thrives as she finds life in the space lab almost utopian. Work and romance go hand in hand, bringing unexpected highs and lows. As important scientific research and experiments achieve significant milestones, the true motive of the Foundation is revealed and so much is at stake. Calli and the crew have an important, irreversible choice to make. Riveting and transformative, Susan English's Callisto 2.0 is a great story about perseverance, hope, and love. I look forward to reading more of the Shambhala Saga.