Imaginative mythology and quixotic characters help this invasion story nimbly avoid the clichÃ©.
A seemingly tranquil species, the Imminent from the planet Lokynss arrive on Earth and clash with their longtime enemies, belligerent beast-like creatures called Zeastians. Both alien races seem intent on helping mankind evolve into more complex life-forms and show up disguised as humans to infiltrate the planet’s social strata. But while the Imminent support a Zen-like philosophy about the individual’s role in an abstract state of joint consciousness called OneStream, the Zeastians stay true to their warmongering belief in the importance of conquest and unbalanced power. The conflict is immediately established with an exciting sequence reminiscent of Men in Black, during which clandestine representatives from both races meet in a restaurant to negotiate. The scene ends with the Zeastian ambassador taking on its true, horrific form, giving the author an opportunity to showcase an obvious skill for staging intense action sequences which pop up throughout the narrative. After this riveting introduction, Kirchhoff slows down the pace to explore various idiosyncratic earthlings with personal attachments to the invaders, including lonely bachelor Benjamin, who falls hopelessly in love with disguised Imminent Deborah. While other characters take center stage at various points, Benjamin emerges as the story’s protagonist, which makes subplots surrounding related storylines feel like wasted space. Nevertheless, the author displays a flair for conveying amusing circumstances, such as a memorable scene in which a monstrous Zeastian seduces a stoner priest who ends up enjoying the experience. Kirchhoff demonstrates a sincere desire to thrill and amuse, despite occasionally losing the reader in whimsical inventions.
Entertaining science fiction.