Quick Review: THE TRAITOR by Jonathan de Shalit (Atria/Emily Bestler)

deShalitJ-TraitorUSAn interesting, if flawed espionage thriller

A sprawling, international high-stakes thriller that pits the intelligence of one man against one of the most successful spies ever to operate against American interests.

When a young Israeli walks into an American embassy and offers to betray his country for money and power, he has no idea that the CIA agent interviewing him is a Russian mole. Years later, that young man has risen in the ranks to become a trusted advisor to Israel’s Prime Minister and throughout his career, he’s been sharing everything he knows with the Kremlin. Now, however, a hint that there may be a traitor in the highest realms of power has slipped out and a top-secret team is put together to hunt for him. The chase leads the team from the streets of Tel Aviv to deep inside the Russian zone and, finally, to the United States, where a most unique spymaster is revealed. The final showdown — between the traitor and the betrayed — can only be resolved by an act of utter treachery that could have far-reaching and devastating consequences.

I had very high hopes for this novel: an agent working for a handler who is himself an agent, and a decades-long career of unwittingly spying for one’s enemies? That’s an attention-grabbing premise, which left me with very high expectations. It took my a couple of tries to get going with the novel, but I’m sad to report that it ultimately didn’t work for me. Continue reading

Interview with SETH DICKINSON

DickinsonSJ-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Seth Dickinson?

Wow, right to the eternal questions! I’m a writer and a lapsed social scientist. I’ve worked on chocolate statistics, cancer biology, the science of rumor, and the social neuroscience of racial bias in police shootings.

I’ve written more than a dozen short stories, a lot of the fiction and lore for Bungie Studios’ smash hit Destiny, and an embarrassing amount of fanfiction about Lego bricks.

I grew up in the Vermont hills, where we had an icy six-stage sledding track worthy of legends. Two brave children would race down first in a big sled, and then everyone else pursued them in one-person sleds and tried to tear them from their mount.

I liked to draw targeting crosshairs on my goggles so I could pretend to be a cyborg.

Your debut novel, The Traitor, will be published in September by Tor Books. How would you introduce the novel to a new reader, and is it part of a planned series?

The Traitor is an epic geopolitical fantasy about a young woman’s mission to crush a colonial empire from the inside. Think Game of Thrones meets Guns, Germs, and Steel meets Code Name Verity. Continue reading

Guest Post: “Planet Jacked!” by Weston Ochse

OchseW-AuthorPicI’d never really encountered the idea about terraforming until I read David Gerrold’s A Matter for Men, and boy did that scare me more than any horror novel I’d ever read. It’s one thing to have space duels with enemy ships or visitations from aliens seeking to see what we’re up to, but it’s another thing altogether when you begin showing aliens who’ve decided that they want your planet and have begun changing the entire ecosystem right out from under you. I mean, what do you do? What technology do we have to stop them?

In Hollywood, there’d be some last second solution overlooked by mainstream scientists, but discovered by the conspiracy theorist picking his nose in the corner. But that’s never going to happen.

In Hollywood, the aliens would find a way to communicate with the President of the United States, because that’s what all aliens do, to give us some sort of ultimatum.

I drop the bullshit flag on that one. Continue reading