A retro space opera that stars a robust hero, diabolical aliens, and powerful hybrids.

READ REVIEW

REFUSAL

A security pro embarks on the adventure of a lifetime, defending imperiled Earth against an approaching alien fleet, with unearthly allies and traitors on all sides.

In Hill’s sci-fi debut, Earth in 2113 has shifted in orbit and is protected from the scorching rays of the sun by an elaborate shielding array courtesy of tycoon Howard Simpson. Muscular young security specialist Jerry McCallister lands his dream job with Simpson’s company and is soon hot on the trail of an apparent spy beaming intelligence from within the well-guarded organization into uncharted space. McCallister also encounters Simpson’s virgin sex-bomb daughter, Carla, whom he ecstatically deflowers on their fact-finding mission at the lunar-based, shield-controlling center (which also doubles as a sort of virtual-reality, adults-only playland). In a parallel narrative that carries weird echoes of the mythology behind L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology Scripture, high-ranking U.S. space pilots reveal themselves as partially alien, being descended from reconstituted extraterrestrial cremated remains long marooned on the moon. These friendly hybrids carry DNA memories of the Citons, nasty cosmic warlords who tend to talk like gangsters (calling women “whores” and “bimbos”) and who have an implacable doomsday invasion fleet en route to Earth. The Citons are formidable foes (McCallister tells Simpson that the Citons’ “minds and weapons are a million or so years beyond our comprehension”). How McCallister and his otherworldly allies pull together to confront the Citon threat is a tale full of action, intrigue, and pretty women. Hill’s energetic tale offers the kind of brawny characters, big explosions and spectacular crashes, questionable science, and heavenly bodies (the female kind) typified by men’s magazine fiction of the days when cigarette ads still walked the Earth (and goat-gland virility remedies were peddled in the classifieds). A cameo by counteragent Matt Helm or master spy Derek Flint would not have violated the suspension of disbelief all that much. The macho space heroics feel a bit like the louche reading material Capt. Kirk might hide in his underwear drawer so Gene Roddenberry wouldn’t find it.

A retro space opera that stars a robust hero, diabolical aliens, and powerful hybrids. 

Pub Date: March 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4787-7472-3

Page Count: -

Publisher: Outskirts Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE GLASS HOTEL

A financier's Ponzi scheme unravels to disastrous effect, revealing the unexpected connections among a cast of disparate characters.

How did Vincent Smith fall overboard from a container ship near the coast of Mauritania, fathoms away from her former life as Jonathan Alkaitis' pretend trophy wife? In this long-anticipated follow-up to Station Eleven (2014), Mandel uses Vincent's disappearance to pick through the wreckage of Alkaitis' fraudulent investment scheme, which ripples through hundreds of lives. There's Paul, Vincent's half brother, a composer and addict in recovery; Olivia, an octogenarian painter who invested her retirement savings in Alkaitis' funds; Leon, a former consultant for a shipping company; and a chorus of office workers who enabled Alkaitis and are terrified of facing the consequences. Slowly, Mandel reveals how her characters struggle to align their stations in life with their visions for what they could be. For Vincent, the promise of transformation comes when she's offered a stint with Alkaitis in "the kingdom of money." Here, the rules of reality are different and time expands, allowing her to pursue video art others find pointless. For Alkaitis, reality itself is too much to bear. In his jail cell, he is confronted by the ghosts of his victims and escapes into "the counterlife," a soothing alternate reality in which he avoided punishment. It's in these dreamy sections that Mandel's ideas about guilt and responsibility, wealth and comfort, the real and the imagined, begin to cohere. At its heart, this is a ghost story in which every boundary is blurred, from the moral to the physical. How far will Alkaitis go to deny responsibility for his actions? And how quickly will his wealth corrupt the ambitions of those in proximity to it? In luminous prose, Mandel shows how easy it is to become caught in a web of unintended consequences and how disastrous it can be when such fragile bonds shatter under pressure.

A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-52114-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

When a book has such great comic timing, it's easy to finish the story in one sitting.

THE HONEY-DON'T LIST

A toxic workplace nurtures an intoxicating romance in Lauren’s (The Unhoneymooners, 2019, etc.) latest.

Rusty and Melissa Tripp are the married co-hosts of a successful home-makeover show and have even published a book on marriage. After catching Rusty cheating on Melissa, their assistants, James McCann and Carey Duncan, are forced to give up long-scheduled vacations to go along on their employers' book tour to make sure their marriage doesn’t implode. And the awkwardness is just getting started. Stuck in close quarters with no one to complain to but each other, James and Carey find that the life they dreamed of having might be found at work after all. James learns that Carey has worked for the Tripps since they owned a humble home décor shop in Jackson, Wyoming. Now that the couple is successful, Carey has no time for herself, and she doesn’t get nearly enough credit for her creative contribution to their media empire. Carey also has regular doctor’s appointments for dystonia, a movement disorder, which motivates her to keep her job but doesn’t stop her from doing it well. James was hired to work on engineering and design for the show, but Rusty treats him like his personal assistant. He’d quit, too, but it’s the only job he can get since his former employer was shut down in a scandal. Using a framing device similar to that of Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, the story flashes forward to interview transcripts with the police that hint at a dramatic ending to come, and the chapters often end with gossip in the form of online comments, adding intrigue. Bonding over bad bosses allows James and Carey to stick up for each other while supplying readers with all the drama and wit of the enemies-to-lovers trope.

When a book has such great comic timing, it's easy to finish the story in one sitting.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3864-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more