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JUMPNAUTS

From the Folding Universe series , Vol. 1

A deeply philosophical and thought-provoking story of humankind’s search for its destiny in the cosmos.

Blending elements of adventure SF with Chinese history and mythology, Hao follows a group of unlikely heroes as they attempt to avert two looming catastrophes: a war between adversarial superpowers and a botched first contact with benevolent aliens who could facilitate humankind’s next evolutionary step.

Set in 2080, the story begins when Jiang Liu, the rebellious youngest son of a politically powerful family and founder of the “world’s largest hacking collective,” is made aware of fluctuations in pulsar emission patterns near Earth. After attempting to meet with Yun Fan—an archeologist working in the Museum of the Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang—Jiang Liu finds that Qi Fei, the head of a top-secret Chinese military research institute, is also looking to meet with the reclusive Yun Fan in search of answers to the cosmic questions. Yun Fan informs the two men—who obviously don’t trust each other—that a massive alien ship is approaching Earth and that her mission is to enter the ship. With the world’s two warring factions, the Pacific League and the Atlantic Alliance, desperately seeking to possess the alien ship’s secrets, Yun Fan and company enter the ship first—and find, among wonders beyond their wildest imaginations, that almost everything they knew about human history has been incorrect. The integration of Chinese history and myth throughout the narrative—the Terracotta Army buried with the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang; Confucianism; Daoism; fenghuang; qilin; and more—gives the narrative added depth. The themes explored, involving humankind’s violent and self-destructive tendencies, conclude with a glimmer of hope: “For all mankind to be one brotherhood is the grand dream of every great teacher in our history, and now we know it is also the article of faith of cosmic civilization.”

A deeply philosophical and thought-provoking story of humankind’s search for its destiny in the cosmos.

Pub Date: March 12, 2024

ISBN: 9781534422117

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Saga/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2024

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DEVOLUTION

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. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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PROJECT HAIL MARY

An unforgettable story of survival and the power of friendship—nothing short of a science-fiction masterwork.

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Weir’s latest is a page-turning interstellar thrill ride that follows a junior high school teacher–turned–reluctant astronaut at the center of a desperate mission to save humankind from a looming extinction event.

Ryland Grace was a once-promising molecular biologist who wrote a controversial academic paper contesting the assumption that life requires liquid water. Now disgraced, he works as a junior high science teacher in San Francisco. His previous theories, however, make him the perfect researcher for a multinational task force that's trying to understand how and why the sun is suddenly dimming at an alarming rate. A barely detectable line of light that rises from the sun’s north pole and curves toward Venus is inexplicably draining the star of power. According to scientists, an “instant ice age” is all but inevitable within a few decades. All the other stars in proximity to the sun seem to be suffering with the same affliction—except Tau Ceti. An unwilling last-minute replacement as part of a three-person mission heading to Tau Ceti in hopes of finding an answer, Ryland finds himself awakening from an induced coma on the spaceship with two dead crewmates and a spotty memory. With time running out for humankind, he discovers an alien spacecraft in the vicinity of his ship with a strange traveler on a similar quest. Although hard scientific speculation fuels the storyline, the real power lies in the many jaw-dropping plot twists, the relentless tension, and the extraordinary dynamic between Ryland and the alien (whom he nicknames Rocky because of its carapace of oxidized minerals and metallic alloy bones). Readers may find themselves consuming this emotionally intense and thematically profound novel in one stay-up-all-night-until-your-eyes-bleed sitting.

An unforgettable story of survival and the power of friendship—nothing short of a science-fiction masterwork.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-13520-4

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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