|image from Amazon|
Remnant Population is a 1996 science fiction novel by Elizabeth Moon. This is one of only a few novels I know of with an elderly woman protagonist. I can recommend it highly as interesting, thought-provoking, and re-readable.
from the back of the book:
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.SFSite says, "All told, Remnant Population is a great story and a well-written book. Beyond that, it accomplishes what too few books, science fiction and otherwise, fail to do -it raises bigger questions that don't necessarily have neat answers." Publishers Weekly concludes with this: "Themes of independence and the value of wisdom form the backbone of this well-written, original novel." Speculative Book Review says, "Remnant Population will be considered classic speculative fiction, I have no doubts. [It] is a mature and intelligent piece of literature."
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....