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Literature / Star City

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Star City is a Young Adult Science Fiction series by Edwin Peng. It consisting of Star City (2017), Friendship Village (2018), and Embassy Town (2019). There are currently three companion short stories, all of which take place just before Star City: The Announcement (Emma's point of view), The Test (Sepporinen's point of view), and The Meeting (Ngizzida's point of view).

After the alien race known as the Ba'ren make first contact with Earth, eighteen-year-old Emma Smith is ready to capitalize on this historic opportunity, beats thousands of applicants for the position of student ambassador. She knows helping the Ba’ren cure osteosarcoma will kick-start her biomedical engineering career, not to mention allow her to learn more about the mysterious aliens.

Sepporinen, a young Ba’ren asteroid miner, cares little about meeting humans. He seeks only riches and glory in prospecting the solar system’s asteroids, but the Ba’ren government inexplicably sends him to Earth to assist with the osterosarcoma research project.


Emma and Sepporinen draw closer as they work together, and discover far more is at stake than what their respective governments have let on. As political struggles intensify between feuding human and Ba’ren factions, anti-alien sentiment on Earth reaches a lethal pitch. The unlikely pair, determined not to be pawns in this complicated game of life and death, must risk everything to maintain the fragile peace between their two species.


The books provide examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: Human characters usually have common, "normal" English names, such as Emma or Michael, while Ba'ren characters have bizarre "alien" names, e.g. Sepporinen or Ngizzida.
  • Genre Savvy: Emma and Liam Smith are huge Science Fiction fans. They regularly reference popular works such as Star Trek and use what they learned to deal with the Ba'ren, to various degrees of success.
  • Klingons Love Shakespeare: Most Ba'ren on Earth Mission are obsessed with, or at least want to learn more about, human cultures.
  • Ominous Floating Spaceship: Purposely subverted by the aliens. The Ba'ren has eight huge [[The Mothership} starcrafts]] as part of their Earth Mission, along with countless smaller spacecrafts. However, their diplomats only allowed two of the starcrafts to come to Earth and limit them to orbit the planet at long distances so that they do not scare the humans.
    • Ba'ren scientists complain about this policy as they need to be closer to Earth to study the planet.
    • Ba'ren military fightercrafts are banned by the diplomats from even approaching Earth orbit. In "The Test", the fact that the Guards violated this ban made their action suspicious to Sepporinen and his companions.
  • Planet of Hats: Very much subverted for the Ba'ren. They are very much a multi-planet, multicultural species.
    • Invoked by humans who are ignorant and/or hate the Ba'ren.
    • Lampshaded in reverse by the Ba'ren. Their researchers complain that it's hard to translate Earth media because the humans do not have a common, culture-neutral language, instead comprising of many different languages and cultures.


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