Ahoy me mateys! Grab your grog! Here is book 1 of the sixth installment of the 3 Bells trilogy showcase.
tomorrow’s kin (Nancy Kress)
Well, this was not yer usual alien first contact story but it sure was engaging. To start with, the aliens are already on Earth when the book begins. In fact, they have been there for months and no one really knows what they want or why. Speculation is rampant. But the aliens will only deal with the UN and then only under specific guidelines. They say they come in peace.
The book follows Marianne Jenner, who is celebrating the publication of her recent research paper. So she is super surprised when the aliens ask to speak with her specifically. Why is she important? What ensues is a series of consequences that no one could fathom.
The story is told in three parts. Part 1 begins at “S minus 10.5 months” and takes us to “S minus 0.” What does the “S” stand for. Spoilers for ye matey, unless ye read the book! But what can be said, is that the Earth is scheduled for disaster unless Marianne and the other scientists can find a solution. This is where ye get to see the alien culture and learn the most about why the aliens made contact. I loved this entire section and found the plot line to be so engaging.
Side note: I believe that part 1 is based on Kress’ 2015 Nebula Award-winning short story yesterday’s kin. Arrr!
The interesting thing is that the second and third parts of the book take place after “S.” Part 2 happens from “S plus 2.6 years” to “S plus 4 years.” Part 3 happens from “S plus 6 years to “S plus 6.9 years.” Oh and there be an epilogue at “S plus 9 years.” This be where the unintended consequences come in. Kress deals with how first contact changed the world.
There be hard science involved but told in a easy to digest format. Topics include: Genetics with the mitochondrial Eve, Engineering with dark matter, Chemistry with panspermia, Climate Changes with the bottleneck event theory, Ecology with invasive species, and much more. The ramifications to life on Earth was fascinating. Ye got to see how and why this events occurred because of the extended time-frames of novel.
But even though the science is there, the human relationships of Marianne really are the heart of the novel. She has three children and they are the backdrop for the changes to humanity caused by the alien contact. All three handle the situation in different ways. Marianne is the center of that conflict and her interactions with her family and friends is what drives the plot.
Part 2 of the novel was me least favourite part. It is the shortest part and I totally get why it is there. But the action was much more intense and interesting in part 3. I am intrigued to see where in the world (or universe) the next book will take the story. I do think this book is worth reading. Onward to book two.
Don’t just take me word for readin’ book 1 (though it should be enough!). Also check out what me crew had to say about this one:
Brad @ Goodreads – “As with a lot of Kress, we get a lot of single or at most dual high-science concepts taken all the way as the grand arc for a novel, and this one is no different. In this case, were talking about the global effects of an invasive species in an ecological System, only we see it from the actions of an alien first-contact scenario and focus more on the subtle effects rather than an in-your-face action sequence that dominates most stories.”
Mogsy @ thebibliosanctum – “The themes involved are also not the ones you’d typically expect from a novel about aliens, focusing instead on topics that run the gamut from environmental issues to foreign policy, which gives rise to plenty of potential for debate. Then, of course, there’s the science, spanning multiple subjects across fields like human genetics, ecology studies, astrophysics, and more. Needless to say, it would be impossible to read this book and fail to appreciate the amount of research that was put into its ideas, and the even more impressive is the way Kress managed to juggle all this information without resorting to awkward info-dumping or worse, derailing her plot.”
Millie @ milliebotreads – Much thanks to her for introducing me to this series! “This is a hard book to describe (am I lame for saying this, like, all the time?!) because the true impact of the alien visit is revealed in layers throughout the entire book. The initial visit from the aliens naturally causes alarm, despite the fact that the majority of the world never gets so much as a glance at them, and the aliens don’t outwardly harm any of Earth’s citizens. But alien hate groups arise almost immediately.”
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
The aliens have arrived… they’ve landed their Embassy ship on a platform in New York Harbor, and will only speak with the United Nations. They say that their world is so different from Earth, in terms of gravity and atmosphere, that they cannot leave their ship. The population of Earth has erupted in fear and speculation.
One day Dr. Marianne Jenner, an obscure scientist working with the human genome, receives an invitation that she cannot refuse. The Secret Service arrives at her college to escort her to New York, for she has been invited, along with the Secretary General of the UN and a few other ambassadors, to visit the alien Embassy.
The truth is about to be revealed. Earth s most elite scientists have ten months to prevent a disaster and not everyone is willing to wait.
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