The author wisely expands his fictional and increasingly riveting futuristic universe, with room to grow.

Reliant's: Price

From the The Collector Series series , Vol. 2

A survivor of the first encounter with aliens in 2164 spearheads a mission to rescue a hijacked civilian ship and crew from an ostensibly aggressive species in this sci-fi tale.

Lt. Barrett Hannum, navigator for the scientific vessel the Odysseus, pulled through after an alien spacecraft dubbed the Titan hijacked the humans’ ship. But only he and Commander Tori Waylon—stuck in a medical repair-bot AutoDoc—are left, with the vessel and remaining crew lost. Hannum’s picked up by a warship, the Franklin Moyer, whose captain wants to use him and his DarkStars (probes), modified with alien hardware by his artificial intelligence, Aeon, to find the Odysseus and another missing scientific ship, the Reliant. Though the Titan’s no longer orbiting the aliens’ ocean planet, light years away from Earth, Hannum can use a DarkStar to scan and examine the colossal vessel. He’s also able to view a recording of the Reliant’s contact with aliens, who appear to attack, though Aeon speculates that the ensuing battle may have been initiated for a reason other than hostility. Hannum, promoted to lieutenant commander and with the help of ever-present Aeon, leads Marines in an effort to locate the Reliant and its crew. It’s an arduous and dangerous task, made even more difficult by antagonistic Commander Nicole Reed aboard the Franklin Moyer. The second in Logsdon’s (Odysseus, 2015) series shows definite evolution; the preceding entry was predominantly Hannum alone with Aeon, whereas the latest novel features numerous characters and some action. This time Hannum effectively gets an upgrade, able to converse with Aeon mentally, which the AI eventually explains. The two generally speak in hypotheticals, because they know little about the other species, sparking an intriguing contrast between contemplative Hannum, concerned with rescuing people, and the Marines, ready for war. Disappointingly, aliens are rarely visible, aside from a tentacled creature humans name the Kraken, and even a battle-laden final act, while exciting, involves an enemy that’s unseen. Logsdon’s narrative is unfortunately marred by sometimes toneless descriptions, like the “very oriental looking” female officer. There are, however, several inspired but ultimately unresolved notions, including a Tori-centric twist, all hopefully illuminated in a later book.

The author wisely expands his fictional and increasingly riveting futuristic universe, with room to grow.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9861402-3-5

Page Count: 290

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2016

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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