A sci-fi novel that offers a relentlessly paced, action-packed, and undeniably epic-in-scope adventure.

In Earth's Service

From the Mapped Space series , Vol. 2

This second installment in the Mapped Space saga continues the exploits of Sirius Kade, captain of a merchant starship and deep-cover agent for the Earth Intelligence Service.

Attempting to complete what should be a routine mission on a remote planet colonized by a highly intelligent race of space-faring, giant beetlelike creatures, Kade watches as a hit squad murders his contact. Tracking the killers to a nearby planet entangles the intrepid operative and his crew in a grand-scale conspiracy that involves weapons smuggling, slavery, and, above all, a plot that features insanely advanced alien technology that could ultimately obliterate humankind. The answers surrounding the alien tech and how it came to be in the possession of space pirates always seem to elude Kade. In this novel (the sequel to Renneberg’s The Antaran Codex, 2014), Kade finds himself in one perilous situation after another in such diverse places as the high-gravity planet Hardfall. Humanity’s tenuous Access Treaty with the Galactic Forum looms above it all. After having its interstellar access rights suspended for 1,000 years when human religious fanatics attacked an alien home world, the human race is essentially on probation—and any violation could set it back centuries. Kade must tread lightly: the future of humankind is literally in his hands. While not as immersive as the first installment (the grandiose political machinations and military sci-fi-powered maneuverings overshadow the characters’ more intimate story arcs), this sequel is still captivating. Kade is an audacious and endearing leading man, and the various planetary backdrops and inhabitants are meticulously detailed and vividly described. Hardfall, for example, is extraordinarily realized (“Large river valleys snaked from towering mountains in the east, across vast plains to the desolate west coast, although only the great rivers of the south still held water. Their northern cousins were now dry and barren scars across a once fertile land”). This volume also delivers an impressively knotty plotline and impeccably edited writing. Fans of classic space tales (like E. E. Smith’s Lensman saga and Jack Williamson’s Legion of Space) should find this series utterly satisfying.

A sci-fi novel that offers a relentlessly paced, action-packed, and undeniably epic-in-scope adventure.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9941840-0-9

Page Count: 414

Publisher: Stephen Peter Renneberg

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2015

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in White society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so Black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her White persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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