A compelling, visionary must-read for literary sci-fi fans that recalls genre classics by Frederik Pohl and Arthur C. Clarke.

The Mothership

In Australian author Renneberg’s (The Siren Project, 2012) blockbuster science-fiction thriller, humanity comes in contact with a vastly advanced alien race.

When an apparent meteor falls in a remote area of Australia’s Northern Territory, a diverse group of people heads off to investigate the site, including a zoologist who ran a research station that had all of its metal removed by an unidentified flying object; a band of beer-swilling hunters; an Aborigine hunter; and an elite military team that specializes in dealing with extraterrestrials. The fallen object turns out not to be a meteorite at all, but a massive alien mother ship that has inexplicably crash-landed. It soon becomes apparent that the aliens have begun to mine the area with drones and seem to be building a breathtakingly large defensive bridgehead. Some of the humans want to study the aliens and attempt to communicate with the crash survivors, while others want to simply nuke them off the face of the Earth. But two questions remain: What do these aliens want, and why are they here? Renneberg seamlessly and brilliantly intertwines his storylines (and includes a vivid and fascinating description of the aliens’ back story) while also examining humankind’s myriad shortcomings. First-contact stories are common in science fiction, but Renneberg’s highly original novel successfully avoids clichés while also providing a highly readable, breakneck-paced story. Readers will likely enjoy its bombshell plot twists and its fitting (and mind-blowing) conclusion.

A compelling, visionary must-read for literary sci-fi fans that recalls genre classics by Frederik Pohl and Arthur C. Clarke.

Pub Date: June 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-0987434739

Page Count: 592

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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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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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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