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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A haunting fable of a lonely, moribund world that is entirely too plausible.

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KLARA AND THE SUN

Nobelist Ishiguro returns to familiar dystopian ground with this provocative look at a disturbing near future.

Klara is an AF, or “Artificial Friend,” of a slightly older model than the current production run; she can’t do the perfect acrobatics of the newer B3 line, and she is in constant need of recharging owing to “solar absorption problems,” so much so that “after four continuous days of Pollution,” she recounts, “I could feel myself weakening.” She’s uncommonly intelligent, and even as she goes unsold in the store where she’s on display, she takes in the details of every human visitor. When a teenager named Josie picks her out, to the dismay of her mother, whose stern gaze “never softened or wavered,” Klara has the opportunity to learn a new grammar of portentous meaning: Josie is gravely ill, the Mother deeply depressed by the earlier death of her other daughter. Klara has never been outside, and when the Mother takes her to see a waterfall, Josie being too ill to go along, she asks the Mother about that death, only to be told, “It’s not your business to be curious.” It becomes clear that Klara is not just an AF; she’s being groomed to be a surrogate daughter in the event that Josie, too, dies. Much of Ishiguro’s tale is veiled: We’re never quite sure why Josie is so ill, the consequence, it seems, of genetic editing, or why the world has become such a grim place. It’s clear, though, that it’s a future where the rich, as ever, enjoy every privilege and where children are marshaled into forced social interactions where the entertainment is to abuse androids. Working territory familiar to readers of Brian Aldiss—and Carlo Collodi, for that matter—Ishiguro delivers a story, very much of a piece with his Never Let Me Go, that is told in hushed tones, one in which Klara’s heart, if she had one, is destined to be broken and artificial humans are revealed to be far better than the real thing.

A haunting fable of a lonely, moribund world that is entirely too plausible.

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-31817-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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With its bug-eyed monsters, one might think Dune was written thirty years ago; it has a fantastically complex schemata and...

DUNE

This future space fantasy might start an underground craze.

It feeds on the shades of Edgar Rice Burroughs (the Martian series), Aeschylus, Christ and J.R. Tolkien. The novel has a closed system of internal cross-references, and features a glossary, maps and appendices dealing with future religions and ecology. Dune itself is a desert planet where a certain spice liquor is mined in the sands; the spice is a supremely addictive narcotic and control of its distribution means control of the universe. This at a future time when the human race has reached a point of intellectual stagnation. What is needed is a Messiah. That's our hero, called variously Paul, then Muad'Dib (the One Who Points the Way), then Kwisatz Haderach (the space-time Messiah). Paul, who is a member of the House of Atreides (!), suddenly blooms in his middle teens with an ability to read the future and the reader too will be fascinated with the outcome of this projection.

With its bug-eyed monsters, one might think Dune was written thirty years ago; it has a fantastically complex schemata and it should interest advanced sci-fi devotees.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1965

ISBN: 0441013597

Page Count: 411

Publisher: Chilton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1965

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