Set in 2030, former professional athlete–turned–social media star Peter Holman vies to save his home planet from dueling alien royalty.
Peter is recording a "story" to stream live on his multisensory social media channel when a seemingly benign alien race, the S’hudonni, initiates first contact. That facade fades as Peter discovers that two royal alien brothers are warring to control Earth, a future he will risk his life to alter. In his trilogy launch, Wilber (Rum Point, 2009, etc.), a prolific sports, sci-fi, and thriller writer, introduces the S’hudonni, who hail from a watery planet and resemble dolphins, and brings back cast members from previously published short stories. The Holman siblings, Peter, Tom, and Kait, get swept into a global crisis as the S’hudonni princes (Twoclick and Whistle) play violently at divvying up the Earth and its rarities, like small-batch Irish whiskey, in a game to impress their father—a family dynamic familiar to the Holmans’. Peter is in conflict with his brother Tom, a professor of marine biology, over their deceased father’s reputation, their wild-child sister, and Tom’s wealthy benefactor, Heather Newsome, who might have an agenda of her own. Both sets of brothers are caught up in squabbles with each other that spin out of control, and both must find their ways toward family harmony. While Wilber’s first-contact novel hums along, it leans heavily on clichés and unoriginal plot devices—a hypersexy shape-shifter, a comical but deadly alien porpoise, and a young ingénue who is also the girl next door. One cool tech twist: Peter uses a multisensory form of mental podcasting to broadcast a live feed meant to lead the aliens astray.
Intergalactic sibling rivalry that toggles between fun and familiar.