Queer Eye for star guys; an engaging throwback SF adventure with a strong gay affirmation.



Two male lovers fight for survival in a spacegoing future in which a nasty dictator oppresses and tortures gay men while secretly planning to exploit their psychic interconnections for galactic conquest.

Debut author Miller begins an SF series that’s waist-deep in the swashbuckling, space opera aesthetic. The saga is set in a far future in which humanity is spread across three galaxies. Yet instead of reaching pinnacles of achievement, much of humankind has become disconnected, forgetting Earth altogether and even falling backward instead of progressing. Such is especially the case for star systems dominated by the Senate, a vicious, reactionary dictatorship under usurper Alarius Kruger II, alias the Magistrate. Among his depredations: the systematic persecution and imprisonment of “sodbents,” gay men. It seems that gay Homo sapiens have evolved (or been somehow engineered) with psychic traits of ESP communication and mind control that transcend space and time. Committed “soulmate” men in relationships develop even deeper thought bonds, the fabled “Life-Lines” (and they make orgasms incredible). While publicly denouncing gays as “degens” and incarcerating them, the paranoid and megalomaniacal Magistrate insidiously seeks to exploit these psi superpowers inherent in the galaxy’s gays to rule the cosmos. Leading the resistance are a colorful space pirate named Farthing, a big, tough GMO supersoldier who rebelled (and is a “gentle giant” in bed); a witchlike but benevolent sisterhood called the Sirens; and Life-Line lovers Tam and Brogan. Light-years across the galaxy, in another long-lost segment of humanity vying to reunite the race, a gay man named Bennett detects Tam’s thoughts. Bennett, astounded by the youth’s latent psychic talents, also starts to play a part in the striking intrigues—which are, by the way, bereft of aliens here, gay or straight. The intriguing material sometimes walks a thin line between golden age SF sincerity and camp (especially the part about booby-trap bombs implanted in manly buttocks) but somehow never fully descends into self-parody, Rocky Horror Show–esque ridiculousness, and that is a bit of a feat. SF from a queer vantage point is rare, and while this action tale may skew nearer to Flash Gordon (or Barbarella) than Samuel R. Delany’s characters, the out-of-the-closet voice is a refreshing genre change of pace.

Queer Eye for star guys; an engaging throwback SF adventure with a strong gay affirmation.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2023

ISBN: 9781039146990

Page Count: 189

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 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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