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Andrea K Höst

Australian writer of science fiction and fantasy.
The Disappeared - Kristine Kathryn Rusch A fascinating, compelling read. In this universe Earth has negotiated, for the sake of trade, a set of very disadvantageous diplomatic agreements which force humans to face the consequences of legal transgressions under alien laws. It is such a difficult problem that an industry of 'disappearances' has grown to allow people to hide from aliens.This story sees the lead character, Miles, a newly minted detective, face the extreme difficulties these agreements can produce.I did have some issues with the base concept. How did humans (who don't seem to have the death penalty) manage to get themselves into this position? How could any diplomat get away with signing an agreement which could cost people their first-born children, or where any person who might be considered to even help a transgressor can be summarily slaughtered? Is the trade really worth the cost? Is Earth so unified a place in this future, or the corporations so dominant, that there is no massive movement against such horrors? It is not even a tiny number facing alien justice: a single disappearance organisation states that it has over a million customers. Where is the media furore?