Despite some less-polished writing and clunky language, the author has a knack for action-packed adventures that employ heroic achievers. In an inventive take on the cause of the Big Bang, “A Universe of Our Own” follows a pair of renegades in mecha suits escaping an oppressive society who steal an energy orb and throw it into a dimension breach. In the emotional “I.R.I.S.,” engineer David Friend must convince the artificial intelligence It Runs ItSelf (IRIS) to help Earth defeat an alien invasion.
Sympathetic characters in harrowing situations draw readers into game-changing decisions with the fate of Earth and humanity in the balance. In “Hansel,” after a young woman finds a human fossil on a terraformed planet far from Earth, she has visions of her ancestors letting their planet die due to carelessness about the climate. Readers will enjoy Keys’s range of stories. The steampunk thriller “The Fuse” sports cybernetic hearts and floating war platforms. In the story, the disgruntled daughter of a military commander challenges his desire to start a war with the subjugated outer colonies and refutes her arranged marriage to an abusive man. In the fantasy “This Is Not a Bedtime Story,” the king’s mage enchants a stuffed cloth bear to defeat Ommin, trapper of souls, and save the young prince. Readers will find themselves engrossed in this variety pack of sci-fi adventures.
Takeaway: Science fiction readers will be immersed in Keys’s space adventures filled with valiant characters on missions to save the Earth and all humanity.
Great for fans of: Rich Larson’s Tomorrow Factory, Samuel Best’s Another World.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A