Remnant Population

For forty years, Colony 3245.12 has been Ofelia’s home. On this planet far away in space and time from the world of her youth, she has lived and loved, weathered the death of her husband, raised her one surviving child, lovingly tended her garden, and grown placidly old. And it is here that she fully expects to finish out her days—until the shifting corporate fortunes of the Sims Bancorp Company dictates that Colony 3245.12 is to be disbanded, its residents shipped off, deep in cryo-sleep, to somewhere new and strange and not of their choosing. But while her fellow colonists grudgingly anticipate a difficult readjustment on some distant world, Ofelia savors the promise of a golden opportunity. Not starting over in the hurly-burly of a new community . . . but closing out her life in blissful solitude, in the place she has no intention of leaving. A population of one.

With everything she needs to sustain her, and her independent spirit to buoy her, Ofelia actually does start life over–for the first time on her own terms: free of the demands, the judgments, and the petty tyrannies of others. But when a reconnaissance ship returns to her idyllic domain, and its crew is mysteriously slaughtered, Ofelia realizes she is not the sole inhabitant of her paradise after all. And, when the inevitable time of first contact finally arrives, she will find her life changed yet again—in ways she could never have imagined. . . .


“Ofelia is one of the most probable heroes science fiction has yet known. This is a book full of pleasure.”

Ursula K. LeGuin

“Moon does a splendid job of bringing her characters to life. Ofelia is as likeable as she is cantankerous, and the aliens are vividly imagined. Themes of independence and the value of wisdom form the backbone of this well-written, original novel.”

Publishers Weekly

“The vibrant description, and the quirky aliens and humans will keep readers engrossed in the story. Highly recommended.”

Library Journal

“Moon succeeds in making her People alien but not alienating, and noble without cloying sentiment. REMNANT POPULATION may move slowly for some readers’ tastes, but those who keep the pace will be rewarded with a gratifying conclusion to a thoughtful narrative.”


“Moon produces a fascinating adventure of interspecies contact that includes the occasional masterfully rendered peek into the alien’s unique mindset. Enthusiasts for alien anthropology as well as Moon’s many fans should enjoy, enjoy.”


“Themes of independence, responsibility and the value of wisdom are at the core of this entertaining novel.”

Middlesex News

“I was immediately impressed with the accessible style that drew me into the book effortlessly. Elizabeth Moon, I discovered, is an impressive talent […] every word was a joy to read.”

Absolute Magnitude

“A satisfying story with a winning heroine.”

Herald Sunday

“A very good story […] this is Elizabeth Moon’s first hardcover and with it she proves that she’s got what it takes to play in the big leagues. The plot is solid and the ideas are sound, but it is the character Ofelia that really makes the story.”

Mysterious Galaxy

“A nice wish-fulfilling fantasy that makes you wish the real world worked this way.”

Weekly Press

“Elizabeth Moon has broken new ground, and the result is excellent […] Recommended.”

Book Net

“A delicious book — one which is beautifully realised and left me wanting more. Expertly crafted […] uplifting and most enjoyable.”



The Times of London

“Elizabeth Moon is really and truly a born tale spinner. One of those authors who easily and effortlessly involves you deeply into her story before you’re even really settled into your chair. I cannot but assume that you are familiar with her work. If by some unfortunate fluke this is not the case, I strongly suggest that you correct the situation, and an excellent start could be made by reading REMNANT POPULATION.”

Gahan Wilson in Realms of Fantasy

“A fine, subtle and marvelous adventure yarn. I will certainly nominate it for a Nebula as soon as it’s got a pub[lication] date. There is so much in it, such lovely detail, such insight and understanding. Pure satisfaction from cover to cover.”

Anne McCaffrey

“A warm, wonderful, wickedly witty and intensely satisfying book. One of the best alien contact novels in years. I wish more books like this were being published.”

Amy Thomson, winner of the John W. Campbell Award

“Just read your REMNANT POPULATION and loved it. What a lovely conception. Your aliens are delightful […] your heroine is a dandy. It was a wonderful read, I enjoyed it thoroughly.”

Suzy McKee Charnas

Awards & Accolades


Nebula Award Preliminary Ballot


Locus Bestseller List & New and Recommended


Science Fiction Book Club selection