High-quality, multifaceted sci-fi blending ecological and religious themes in an engaging manner.



An alien transmission grants a maverick tycoon the knowledge to create wormhole technology that could revitalize a dysfunctional Earth.

After a disastrous global financial collapse, visionary entrepreneur August Bridges (of a company called Mirtopik) partially revived the world economy with a cryptocurrency called the “eco,” based on offsetting greenhouse gases and global warming. But his other pet project—which isn’t embraced by his treacherous Russian partners—is to elevate mankind by establishing radiotelescope contact with advanced aliens and asking for the secret to faster-than-light travel. His dream seemingly comes true when a faraway aquatic civilization transmits blueprints of instantaneous travel via space-time wormholes. But soon afterward, those same aliens are engulfed by a black hole when their method fails. They manage to transmit a final, dire warning to Earth, but that message is suppressed by shadowy forces on Earth. Winburn’s plot follows the vainglorious Bridges and several other key players—a Tibetan monk orbiting Neptune, a driven exobiologist on Mars trying to save the only native ecosystem, a young woman rising in the ranks in Mirtopik security—who are all conflicted about or acting as pawns in the deployment of Bridges’ hazardous scheme. Another key player is a jazz-loving clone whose barely legal status as a human entity seems to drive him to play an extreme game of manipulation and deceit. Debut author Winburn consistently impresses with a thoughtful 22nd-century saga that draws on such common sci-fi tropes as interplanetary corporate skulduggery, first contact with aliens, and the unintended effects of groundbreaking tech—all done before by others but here quilted together into a transfixing narrative. Some may find the sequel-hook open ending to be a letdown after such an inspired launch; others may wonder if it fulfills the occasional Buddhist precepts in the story’s multicultural mosaic, which deny neat, simple wrap-ups. In an introduction, the author explains how his own Buddhism flavored the novel; the resulting book isn’t a heavy religious tract, but the density of its ideas and themes could fill many a meditation.

High-quality, multifaceted sci-fi blending ecological and religious themes in an engaging manner.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-945604-19-5

Page Count: 532

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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A thrilling and satisfying sequel to the 1969 classic.


Over 50 years after an extraterrestrial microbe wiped out a small Arizona town, something very strange has appeared in the Amazon jungle in Wilson’s follow-up to Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain.

The microparticle's introduction to Earth in 1967 was the disastrous result of an American weapons research program. Before it could be contained, Andromeda killed all but two people in tiny Piedmont, Arizona; during testing after the disaster, AS-1 evolved and escaped into the atmosphere. Project Eternal Vigilance was quickly set up to scan for any possible new outbreaks of Andromeda. Now, an anomaly with “signature peaks” closely resembling the original Andromeda Strain has been spotted in the heart of the Amazon, and a Wildfire Alert is issued. A diverse team is assembled: Nidhi Vedala, an MIT nanotechnology expert born in a Mumbai slum; Harold Odhiambo, a Kenyan xenogeologist; Peng Wu, a Chinese doctor and taikonaut; Sophie Kline, a paraplegic astronaut and nanorobotics expert based on the International Space Station; and, a last-minute addition, roboticist James Stone, son of Dr. Jeremy Stone from The Andromeda Strain. They must journey into the deepest part of the jungle to study and hopefully contain the dire threat that the anomaly seemingly poses to humanity. But the jungle has its own dangers, and it’s not long before distrust and suspicion grip the team. They’ll need to come together to take on what waits for them inside a mysterious structure that may not be of this world. Setting the story over the course of five days, Wilson (Robopocalypse, 2011, etc.) combines the best elements of hard SF novels and techno-thrillers, using recovered video, audio, and interview transcripts to shape the narrative, with his own robotics expertise adding flavor and heft. Despite a bit of acronym overload, this is an atmospheric and often terrifying roller-coaster ride with (literally) sky-high stakes that pays plenty of homage to The Andromeda Strain while also echoing the spirit and mood of Crichton’s other works, such as Jurassic Park and Congo. Add more than a few twists and exciting set pieces (especially in the finale) to the mix, and you’ve got a winner.

A thrilling and satisfying sequel to the 1969 classic.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247327-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

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Manic parodist Moore, fresh off a season in 1947 San Francisco (Noir, 2018), returns with a rare gift for Shakespeare fans who think A Midsummer Night’s Dream would be perfect if only it were a little more madcap.

Cast adrift by pirates together with his apprentice, halfwit giant Drool, and Jeff, his barely less intelligent monkey, Pocket of Dog Snogging upon Ouze, jester to the late King Lear, washes ashore in Shakespeare’s Athens, where Cobweb, a squirrel by day and fairy by night, takes him under her wing and other parts. Soon after he encounters Robin Goodfellow (the Puck), jester to shadow king Oberon, and Nick Bottom and the other clueless mechanicals rehearsing Pyramus and Thisby in a nearby forest before they present it in celebration of the wedding of Theseus, Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the captive Amazon queen who’s captured his heart, Pocket (The Serpent of Venice, 2014, etc.) finds Robin fatally shot by an arrow. Suspected briefly of the murder himself, he’s commissioned, first by Hippolyta, then by the unwitting Theseus, to identify the Puck’s killer. Oh, and Egeus, the Duke’s steward, wants him to find and execute Lysander, who’s run off with Egeus’ daughter, Hermia, instead of marrying Helena, who’s in love with Demetrius. As English majors can attest, a remarkable amount of this madness can already be found in Shakespeare’s play. Moore’s contribution is to amp up the couplings, bawdy language, violence, and metatextual analogies between the royals, the fairies, the mechanicals, his own interloping hero, and any number of other plays by the Bard.

A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-243402-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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