Callisto by Artridge Whiting

Callisto

Chronicles of the Hybrid/Humans
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Forewarned of an all-out alien invasion of Earth, psychic Callisto McCullough becomes a key figure in mankind’s post-apocalyptic fight for survival.

In this new spin on the alien-invasion saga, heroine Callie McCullough is an “Esper,” or psychic. Wisely wanting to keep her gifts to herself, she lives quietly in Pennsylvania with a support group of other secretive telepaths and immense inherited wealth. But she’s recruited by a much larger cabal of people wielding psi powers, and they have dire news: precognition shows an approaching alien armada destroying nearly all human life. Whiting skillfully crosscuts to the vantage of the Raig’i invaders, a distant species with a startlingly close resemblance to Homo sapiens—so startling that xenophobic rulers in their warrior-caste culture have a 900-year plan to annihilate humanity as potential competition, then colonize Earth for themselves. The Raig’i do not possess any fanciful warp drive or faster-than-light ships; soldiers of their massive strike fleet must remain in stasis during a centurieslong flight to Earth. The cruel and ruthless operation plants a fateful seed of resistance in a high-ranking Raig’i scientist. Meanwhile, with several years’ advanced warning, Callie and her farsighted brethren work on honing their mental powers as well as organizing a general infrastructure for subsistence, survival, and striking back at the aliens. One neat detail: a popular online sci-fi role-playing game is really a rehearsal exercise, preparing young gamer minds for the genuine ordeal that is to come. In this scheme—one that literally takes human life to the next level—Callie is preordained to play a pivotal role symbolically, strategically, and genetically, perhaps meshing with the plans of the Raig’i dissenter. This grand-canvas catastrophe includes excerpts from sham alien-invasion historical documents and memoirs as well as intercessions from characters in the future trying to preserve the integrity of the timelines. The text wraps up most of the key subplots while still whetting reader appetite for the next round.

A clever, well-told, multidimensional take on the alien blitzkrieg.

Program: Kirkus Indie
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