This is a reread of a Connie Willis novella from the 90s. I reread it because this is a new audiobook version. We find ourselves on a kind of archeological/anthropological/paleontology survey of a foreign planet. The survey crew is abuzz because of a new member showing up that day. Evelyn is not a woman to the chagrin the male members of the crew and to the delight of at least one of the women. The novel then goes into the rules, regulations, and guidance that are controlling the survey and the different ways the crew might need to break them to make do with the limits of their work.
The novel comes across as a more technical or industry based Star Trek episode. You know that one (movie?) where they show up on the planet ready for first contact and it turns out there’s been a survey team there in costume or behind a duck blind for months and months? That’s where we are here.
You can tell from the office sexual politics that this book is very 1990s and early at that. Connie Willis has tried to expand her horizons on sexuality in recent books to mixed results, so you’ll have to either forgive her (or not) or put this book into the context. It’s mostly solid, and reads more like a long short story than a standalone novel, and I think it was paired with other novellas for her collection last year, which seems about where it best fits in.