A thrilling tale that deftly merges sci-fi and Western concepts.


McFatter delivers a complex, philosophical look at the fringes of humanity, memory, and civilization in this debut sci-fi Western.

Miguel Morgan has lost everything—more than once. He’s been taken out of suspended animation by a “Woman in Black” named Alice and her enigmatic master, The Kind Man, and forced to confront how the world has changed since he was put in a stasis pod in 2012. Now Miguel is utterly lost; he’s alone, without the other 46 people who were placed in stasis with him. He remembers little of his life and the old world, before civilization was reduced to its current wasteland, known as the Outfar. But his body and mind, thanks to the stasis process, are stronger than ever. This is fortunate, because he’ll need every bit of his strength, skill, and burgeoning psychic abilities to survive in a harsh world filled with strange and frightening technology, desperate people, and ghoulish cyborgs. When Alice leaves him at a ramshackle settlement, he attempts to help the people there and uncover the mysteries of his past. The resulting revelations threaten to shake the very foundations of this new world. The novel offers an appealing sci-fi tale, featuring humanity on the brink of destruction, managing to survive in the face of impossible odds. What sets it apart, though, is the incorporation of Western genre elements. It’s easy for post-apocalyptic tales to get lost in the weeds of the causes of the apocalypse and the monstrosities left behind, not to mention descriptions of abandoned metropolises. McFatter, however, approaches the setting as a lone frontier—harsh and unforgiving but also beautiful. The narration, and Miguel’s voice in particular, really helps to sell this idea, lending a folksy charm and grit to the more fantastical elements. All in all, the tone and style transform an otherwise competent apocalyptic yarn into a unique treat, boding well for future entries in the series.

A thrilling tale that deftly merges sci-fi and Western concepts.

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-980293-02-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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