Debut novelists Todd and Tim Wynn offer a fun, immersive sci-fi romp about aliens on Earth and the government agencies that deal with them.
In this story, aliens who come to Earth illegally are a regular problem. Sometimes they’re just tourists, and if they abduct someone, it’s only to create a vaccine to help them adapt to Earth’s environment. They also hide their ships and appear human—even if they sometimes have odd traits, such as pupils that look like bow ties. Stewart Faulkner and his team at a misleadingly named government agency called the Limestone Deposit Survey Group are charged with finding these trespassers, and they often confiscate their ships until they can pay the necessary fines. The group includes a technology expert named Gregory “Web” Webster, some muscle known as the New Guy, and a new recruit named Mindy Craddock. As the story opens on Mindy’s first day, they meet aliens who are definitely not tourists. These trespassers are part of a scout team that helps prepare sites for royal visits, and they’re trying to find a young woman named Sara, who’s lost her memory. The Royal Expeditionary Armada, Unit 4, is led by the capable Dexim and his sister, Lyntic, and also includes tech specialist Tobi and junior member Jin. Complicating everyone’s missions is Karl Bruner from the Alien Research Agency, another governmental group charged with proving the existence of aliens. The fact that the government runs agencies for both hiding and revealing UFOs is just one of the amusing quirks of the Wynn brothers’ book. Readers may make comparisons to the Men in Black movie franchise, but the similarities fade as the action progresses and each character develops. Outwardly, at least, there are no villains in this story; it’s a comedy of misunderstandings that’s well-plotted and filled with oddball characters, both human and alien. Perhaps the authors didn’t fully trust their own handiwork, as they include a list of character descriptions and a glossary that are hardly necessary. Overall, the prose is clear and never confusing, even with the large cast and extensive back stories.
A light, fun sci-fi tale set in a world that’s worth revisiting.