Next book

TRAITOR'S RUN

From the The Lenticular series , Vol. 1

A potent SF depiction of humanity victimizing peaceful aliens.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

An Earth-based space empire exploits and enslaves Milky Way civilizations for its own selfish benefit while a crablike alien refugee and an outcast human warrior try to oppose its latest crimes.

Stevenson’s far-future SF series opener focuses on evil space invaders who happen to be human—an order called the Hegemony, which arose in the aftermath of a traumatic but victorious (though scarcely described in any detail) interplanetary war. Hegemony policy assures the safety of humankind by incorporating spacegoing alien civilizations in what is supposedly a protective alliance akin to the storied Federation of the Star Trek franchise. In fact, the oppressive arrangement subjugates and weakens the Hegemony’s coalition planets, making them little more than Earth vassals and underclasses. Rhees Lowrans, an eager human fighter pilot for the Hegemony, accidentally causes the death of a close comrade in a training exercise and is punished with a transfer to the much-disliked intelligence branch. There, she learns inside dirt about a mystery attack on nonhuman colonies in which Hegemony military might did nothing to avert the slaughter of 13 billion aliens. In a parallel narrative (barely intersecting in this installment), Udun is a rare, space-traveling member of the Kresz—intelligent humanoid arthropods (“like a cross between a crab and a lobster but with only two arms and two legs, though these were strangely jointed and much longer than a human’s”) with an isolationist culture. Udun’s unheard-of voyages beyond Kresz territory give him ominous clues of an approaching crisis, but he is unprepared for the ruthless barbarism of the Hegemony. The captivating story ends at a turning point, and readers will eagerly look forward to the sequel. The author’s gift for xenofiction matches that of genre grandmasters like Hal Clement, Larry Niven, and C.J. Cherryh. Stevenson gets under the alien skins (or carapaces) and unique emotional makeup of the Kresz characters to the point that readers begin to see the ultimately amoral Homo sapiens as grotesque and “other” as any bug-eyed monster on the cover of yesteryear’s SF pulps. Comparisons between the Hegemony’s malevolence and real-world developments should be evident even without the words Homeland Security ever being deployed.

A potent SF depiction of humanity victimizing peaceful aliens.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2023

ISBN: 9780648197553

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Coeur de Lion

Review Posted Online: July 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2023

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 170


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Next book

DEVOLUTION

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 170


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

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

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 29


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Next book

THE MINISTRY OF TIME

This rip-roaring romp pivots between past and present and posits the future-altering power of love, hope, and forgiveness.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 29


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

A time-toying spy romance that’s truly a thriller.

In the author’s note following the moving conclusion of her gripping, gleefully delicious debut novel, Bradley explains how she gathered historical facts about Lt. Graham Gore, a real-life Victorian naval officer and polar explorer, then “extrapolated a great deal” about him to come up with one of her main characters, a curly-haired, chain-smoking, devastatingly charming dreamboat who has been transported through time. Having also found inspiration in the sole extant daguerreotype of Gore, showing him to have been “a very attractive man,” Bradley wrote the earliest draft of the book for a cluster of friends who were similarly passionate about polar explorers. Her finished novel—taut, artfully unspooled, and vividly written—retains the kind of insouciant joy and intimacy you might expect from a book with those origins. It’s also breathtakingly sexy. The time-toggling plot focuses on the plight of a British civil servant who takes a high-paying job on a secret mission, working as a “bridge” to help time-traveling “expats” resettle in 21st-century London—and who falls hard for her charge, the aforementioned Commander Gore. Drama, intrigue, and romance ensue. And while this quasi-futuristic tale of time and tenderness never seems to take itself too seriously, it also offers a meaningful, nuanced perspective on the challenges we face, the choices we make, and the way we live and love today.

This rip-roaring romp pivots between past and present and posits the future-altering power of love, hope, and forgiveness.

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9781668045145

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

Close Quickview