A spellbinding yarn about people caught in an open-ended space puzzle, told with force and gravity.

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SKYBOUND

A massive, enigmatic object appears near Earth and halts the planet’s rotation in Iovino’s SF debut.

At some point in the near future, a huge, opaque, vaguely dart-shaped object suddenly materializes in the atmosphere over North America, “ensconced in sunlight, enrobed in shimmering, purpled translucence.” Then Earth and the moon both stop rotating. Although the sudden stop doesn’t initially create the doomsday seismic and inertial forces that science would predict, Eurasia is plunged into darkness, and the Americas suffer blazing, continual daylight. All artificial satellites hurtle off into space, and the small crew of the International Space Station attempt a desperate return to solid ground with a soyuz spacecraft. In a tapped-out Colorado mining town reliant on the nearby military base, both a young priest struggling with his ministry and his sister, an aerospace engineer, will play key parts in the story as the paralysis of the globe creates unnatural tides, tremors, and even frightening wildlife behavior. Humans, cut off from conventional communications, fall prey to fear, violence, and religious fanaticism. For a story about an immobile planet, Iovino crafts an exciting plotline that never stops. The pages speedily turn, and the orbiting subplots and numerous characters appealingly recall all-star 1970s disaster epics. As a bonus, the most heroic roles, once filled by men like George Kennedy or Charlton Heston in such films, go to strong female characters. The author teases readers with explanations for the cosmic cataclysm but is miserly when it comes to delivering any real answers, unless an asteroid-field of sequels are on their way. Nonetheless, this book’s action, suspense, and emotional elements will keep readers transfixed.

A spellbinding yarn about people caught in an open-ended space puzzle, told with force and gravity.  

Pub Date: June 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-73-717460-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: LAB Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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An unforgettable story of survival and the power of friendship—nothing short of a science-fiction masterwork.

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PROJECT HAIL MARY

Weir’s latest is a page-turning interstellar thrill ride that follows a junior high school teacher–turned–reluctant astronaut at the center of a desperate mission to save humankind from a looming extinction event.

Ryland Grace was a once-promising molecular biologist who wrote a controversial academic paper contesting the assumption that life requires liquid water. Now disgraced, he works as a junior high science teacher in San Francisco. His previous theories, however, make him the perfect researcher for a multinational task force that's trying to understand how and why the sun is suddenly dimming at an alarming rate. A barely detectable line of light that rises from the sun’s north pole and curves toward Venus is inexplicably draining the star of power. According to scientists, an “instant ice age” is all but inevitable within a few decades. All the other stars in proximity to the sun seem to be suffering with the same affliction—except Tau Ceti. An unwilling last-minute replacement as part of a three-person mission heading to Tau Ceti in hopes of finding an answer, Ryland finds himself awakening from an induced coma on the spaceship with two dead crewmates and a spotty memory. With time running out for humankind, he discovers an alien spacecraft in the vicinity of his ship with a strange traveler on a similar quest. Although hard scientific speculation fuels the storyline, the real power lies in the many jaw-dropping plot twists, the relentless tension, and the extraordinary dynamic between Ryland and the alien (whom he nicknames Rocky because of its carapace of oxidized minerals and metallic alloy bones). Readers may find themselves consuming this emotionally intense and thematically profound novel in one stay-up-all-night-until-your-eyes-bleed sitting.

An unforgettable story of survival and the power of friendship—nothing short of a science-fiction masterwork.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-13520-4

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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Remarkable, revelatory and not to be missed.

THE THREE-BODY PROBLEM

From the Remembrance of Earth's Past series , Vol. 1

Strange and fascinating alien-contact yarn, the first of a trilogy from China’s most celebrated science-fiction author.

In 1967, at the height of the Cultural Revolution, young physicist Ye Wenjie helplessly watches as fanatical Red Guards beat her father to death. She ends up in a remote re-education (i.e. forced labor) camp not far from an imposing, top secret military installation called Red Coast Base. Eventually, Ye comes to work at Red Coast as a lowly technician, but what really goes on there? Weapons research, certainly, but is it also listening for signals from space—maybe even signaling in return? Another thread picks up the story 40 years later, when nanomaterials researcher Wang Miao and thuggish but perceptive policeman Shi Qiang, summoned by a top-secret international (!) military commission, learn of a war so secret and mysterious that the military officers will give no details. Of more immediate concern is a series of inexplicable deaths, all prominent scientists, including the suicide of Yang Dong, the physicist daughter of Ye Wenjie; the scientists were involved with the shadowy group Frontiers of Science. Wang agrees to join the group and investigate and soon must confront events that seem to defy the laws of physics. He also logs on to a highly sophisticated virtual reality game called “Three Body,” set on a planet whose unpredictable and often deadly environment alternates between Stable times and Chaotic times. And he meets Ye Wenjie, rehabilitated and now a retired professor. Ye begins to tell Wang what happened more than 40 years ago. Jaw-dropping revelations build to a stunning conclusion. In concept and development, it resembles top-notch Arthur C. Clarke or Larry Niven but with a perspective—plots, mysteries, conspiracies, murders, revelations and all—embedded in a culture and politic dramatically unfamiliar to most readers in the West, conveniently illuminated with footnotes courtesy of translator Liu.

Remarkable, revelatory and not to be missed.

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7653-7706-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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