My absolute favorite thing by Steinmetz. It entirely deserves the 2012 Nebula nod. A young woman aboard the tiniest space way-station imaginable meets a friend who inspires her to think of the world beyond her 228 walls. It’s essentially a growing-up story, but unfortunately, world events intervene before Lizzie’s life could take the usual course.
There’s a very solid characterization here, with Lizzie feeling like a mildly sheltered young person, and the grandmother and mother (and reader) as those who have seen too much. World-building feels realistic, both logistically (conservation in space, what’s possible on a station) and politically. The ethics are perhaps a touch heavy-handed, but that’s a small downside in the rest of an interesting and unpredictable story.
I wasn’t a fan of Steinmetz’ UF ‘Mancer series, but I’d absolutely read more like this.