Does anyone need to read this? No. Will anyone want to? Shrug. Maybe on the beach.



From the The Silence series , Vol. 1

First, juiceless, installment of a space opera trilogy from Clark, a pseudonym for David Wellington (The Cyclops Initiative, 2015, etc.), author of zombie, vampire, werewolf, and action thriller series.

Star Wars meets The Seven Samurai in this far-future galaxy where only Earth maintains a space navy and the space lanes are riven by wars between interstellar corporations, or “polys”—none of which have any interest in the barely habitable, backwater planet Niraya. So when it’s brutally attacked by insensate machines from who knows where, the religious, contemplative inhabitants send representatives Roan and Elder McRae to the Hexus space station to plead for help. Luckily, 300-year-old ex–space navy pilot Aleister Lanoe has pursued his quarry, the young murderer Thom, there. Lanoe rescues the naïve Nirayans from the clutches of treacherous ex-navy conman Auster Maggs and agrees to help their cause. Both Thom (extenuating, if not exonerating, circumstances) and Maggs (no choice—he’s a deserter) sign up. Also joining the venture will be Lanoe’s ex-shipmates Caroline Ehta (her guilty secret is she has PTSD and can’t fly), Bettina Zhang (Lanoe’s wannabe flame), and legendary hero Tannis Valk, severely injured fighting on the opposite side to Lanoe in the last corporate conflict and now working space traffic control. The usual complications, heroics, and surprises ensue, all professionally packaged and produced and entirely unmemorable.

Does anyone need to read this? No. Will anyone want to? Shrug. Maybe on the beach.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-35569-8

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Orbit/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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An exciting, thought-provoking mind-bender.


In Crouch’s sci-fi–driven thriller, a machine designed to help people relive their memories creates apocalyptic consequences.

In 2018, NYPD Detective Barry Sutton unsuccessfully tries to talk Ann Voss Peters off the edge of the Poe Building. She claims to have False Memory Syndrome, a bewildering condition that seems to be spreading. People like Ann have detailed false memories of other lives lived, including marriages and children, but in “shades of gray, like film noir stills.” For some, like Ann, an overwhelming sense of loss leads to suicide. Barry knows loss: Eleven years ago, his 15-year-old daughter, Meghan, was killed by a hit-and-run driver. Details from Ann’s story lead him to dig deeper, and his investigation leads him to a mysterious place called Hotel Memory, where he makes a life-altering discovery. In 2007, a ridiculously wealthy philanthropist and inventor named Marcus Slade offers neuroscientist Helena Smith the chance of a lifetime and an unlimited budget to build a machine that allows people to relive their memories. He says he wants to “change the world.” Helena hopes that her mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, will benefit from her passion project. The opportunity for unfettered research is too tempting to turn down. However, when Slade takes the research in a controversial direction, Helena may have to destroy her dream to save the world. Returning to a few of the themes he explored in Dark Matter (2016), Crouch delivers a bullet-fast narrative and raises the stakes to a fever pitch. A poignant love story is woven in with much food for thought on grief and the nature of memories and how they shape us, rounding out this twisty and terrifying thrill ride.

An exciting, thought-provoking mind-bender.

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-5978-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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Remarkable, revelatory and not to be missed.


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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