A highly complex middle-chapter installment of an intricate SF/fantasy that requires sharp attention.



From the Time Corrector Series series , Vol. 2

A celebrity entrepreneur and inventor in the near future confronts a masked enemy, time-travel paradoxes, and historical rewrites in Datta’s sequel to The Winding (2021).

This series installment begins years after the first, focusing again on 21st-century celebrity Vincent Abajian, a scientific genius whose Quantum World company leads the planet in technological progress. He has a secret, genetic “time corrector” ability that allows him to enter a time/space warp called “the core” and shape the past, present, and future. In the world of the novel, “time turbulence” storms occasionally strike, and one such disaster robbed Vincent of his 1990s boarding school love, musician Akane. In the previous book, Vince rediscovered temporary bliss with an alternate version of Akane named Emika, but the relationship soured; Emika was pregnant, but Vince, whose memory was later wiped, isn’t currently aware of this. The long-lost Akane returns to his life, but Vincent’s idyll is interrupted by lingering memories of Emika and her baby. Meanwhile, Quantum World is introducing new mind-data interface helmets that promise a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and downloadable access to many skills. In addition, masked marauder/hacker Vandal starts launching attacks against Vincent and his loved ones. Datta offers a book that’s most likely to appeal to attentive fans of the first series installment. For example, he further complicates the already complex nonlinear structure of The Winding, with the plot unfolding via multiple first-person perspectives in multiple timelines, sometimes recapping the same incidents from different points of view. Numerous footnotes attempt to clarify points or highlight foreshadowing in the last book, but newcomers may still find this volume very difficult to follow. In a preface, the author explains that a sojourn in Japan heavily influenced the material here, and, indeed, readers will find that the work has a very strong anime flavor, with mecha combat suits, Japanese dialogue (partially translated), unresolvable romantic sentiments, and moments of mysticism (the titan Chronos and his rebellious Greek god-children have stakes in the proceedings). Finally, an open ending offers a revelation of a not-so-surprising master villain.

A highly complex middle-chapter installment of an intricate SF/fantasy that requires sharp attention.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2023


Page Count: 504

Publisher: Bublish, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 28, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2023

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Remarkable, revelatory and not to be missed.


From the Remembrance of Earth's Past series , Vol. 1

Strange and fascinating alien-contact yarn, the first of a trilogy from China’s most celebrated science-fiction author.

In 1967, at the height of the Cultural Revolution, young physicist Ye Wenjie helplessly watches as fanatical Red Guards beat her father to death. She ends up in a remote re-education (i.e. forced labor) camp not far from an imposing, top secret military installation called Red Coast Base. Eventually, Ye comes to work at Red Coast as a lowly technician, but what really goes on there? Weapons research, certainly, but is it also listening for signals from space—maybe even signaling in return? Another thread picks up the story 40 years later, when nanomaterials researcher Wang Miao and thuggish but perceptive policeman Shi Qiang, summoned by a top-secret international (!) military commission, learn of a war so secret and mysterious that the military officers will give no details. Of more immediate concern is a series of inexplicable deaths, all prominent scientists, including the suicide of Yang Dong, the physicist daughter of Ye Wenjie; the scientists were involved with the shadowy group Frontiers of Science. Wang agrees to join the group and investigate and soon must confront events that seem to defy the laws of physics. He also logs on to a highly sophisticated virtual reality game called “Three Body,” set on a planet whose unpredictable and often deadly environment alternates between Stable times and Chaotic times. And he meets Ye Wenjie, rehabilitated and now a retired professor. Ye begins to tell Wang what happened more than 40 years ago. Jaw-dropping revelations build to a stunning conclusion. In concept and development, it resembles top-notch Arthur C. Clarke or Larry Niven but with a perspective—plots, mysteries, conspiracies, murders, revelations and all—embedded in a culture and politic dramatically unfamiliar to most readers in the West, conveniently illuminated with footnotes courtesy of translator Liu.

Remarkable, revelatory and not to be missed.

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7653-7706-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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