An intelligent, entertaining take on the possibilities of science.

LEGEND OF SUMERIA

LIFE · BLOOD · DNA

In Webb and Parekkadan’s debut graphic novel, a near-future civilization is in danger of collapse due to bioterrorism and a miracle drug that may no longer be effective.

Stem cell biologist Bruce Abbott’s Tigris is a drug that’s supposed to end all disease. It’s part of what has made the Nyima Corporation, run by CEO Damon Locke, a global powerhouse. The company is also behind the SEQ network, which contains information on billions of human genomes. The world’s internet and power grid were once brought down for days by a geomagnetic event, so to secure a new power source, NASA plans a mission to sister planet Kepler Z. Some sick people on Earth, however, aren’t in the SEQ system and are being turned away by SEQ-approved physicians. Concurrently, bioterrorists have released a synthetic disease that Tigris won’t cure, leading to an outbreak. Investigators with the Department of Homeland Security connect an ancient marking associated with terrorists to a symbol on Bruce’s watch, which belonged to his brother, Jack, who’s been in hiding for some time. As riots and suicides increase, government operative Henry Ford, in defiance of CIA orders, hopes to find answers by tracking down the symbol’s origin. Or perhaps Earth’s salvation lies with astronaut Tessa Jones, who reaches Kepler Z and discovers an alien species. The authors’ story succeeds at explaining its scientific terminology and seamlessly incorporating it into the narrative. Chapter titles provide definitions that double as metaphors; “Apoptosis,” for instance, is defined as the process of “programmed cell suicide,” while some characters believe that people’s suicides are part of natural human development. Most characters are ambiguous at first; a flashback of Bruce’s relationship with Jack, for instance, sheds light on both men, and more twists involving Bruce come later. The colorful panels are courtesy of LaGaipa and a team of artists, and although differences in the artwork are discernible, the characters and settings remain cohesive. A finale packed with plot turns feels like the setup for a new story rather than an open ending. It’s unquestionably rousing, but readers may anticipate a follow-up.

An intelligent, entertaining take on the possibilities of science.

Pub Date: March 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9998195-1-7

Page Count: 284

Publisher: Dream Novels LLC

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

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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A LITTLE LIFE

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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