A deep, dark, epic meditation on humanity, empathy, and how hard it is to overcome our inherent inability to empathize with the Other.
Great characters, carefully-Othered aliens that give a glimpse into different minds, and incredibly organic conflict. Accelerated evolution.
I've been thinking about failures of empathy lately; my own in the small scale, and written large with our country taking a painful look in the mirror. This nerdy novel gave me some pragmatic optimism of a very weird sort. We've got so far to go, but the problems are solvable. With enough time, with enough empathy, if we can finally slice through the giant Gordian web of Us vs. Them that we love to get fucking stuck in. "For life's sake," as the distant characters in this swear.