THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
The alternate history first contact adventure Axiom's End is an extraordinary debut from Hugo finalist and video essayist Lindsay Ellis.
Truth is a human right.
It’s fall 2007. A well-timed leak has revealed that the US government might have engaged in first contact. Cora Sabino is doing everything she can to avoid the whole mess, since the force driving the controversy is her whistleblower father. Even though Cora hasn’t spoken to him in years, his celebrity has caught the attention of the press, the Internet, the paparazzi, and the government—and with him in hiding, that attention is on her. She neither knows nor cares whether her father’s leaks are a hoax, and wants nothing to do with him—until she learns just how deeply entrenched her family is in the cover-up, and that an extraterrestrial presence has been on Earth for decades.
Realizing the extent to which both she and the public have been lied to, she sets out to gather as much information as she can, and finds that the best way for her to uncover the truth is not as a whistleblower, but as an intermediary. The alien presence has been completely uncommunicative until she convinces one of them that she can act as their interpreter, becoming the first and only human vessel of communication. Their otherworldly connection will change everything she thought she knew about being human—and could unleash a force more sinister than she ever imagined.
Communication and trust are matters of life and death in Ellis's thoughtful, fast-paced debut. In 2007, two meteorites strike the Los Angeles area within the span of one month and a leak reveals that the U.S. government is aware of extraterrestrial life on earth. Cora Sabino, the whistleblower's daughter, is abducted by one of these life-forms shortly thereafter. Cora makes a deal to interpret for her abductor, Ampersand, the alien who arrived with the first meteorite whose language she's able to understand thanks to his advanced technology. She hopes to use her ability to communicate with Ampersand to bargain for her father's safety from the government. But soon, Cora's caught in the middle of an interspecies alien conflict as Obelus, who arrived in the second meteorite, hunts down the Fremda group, refugees who arrived on Earth 40 years earlier. Cora and Ampersand bond while working together, but can Cora really trust a being whose conception of morality is so different from her own? Though a too-quick ending is somewhat unsatisfying, the powerful connection that grows between Cora and Ampersand as they teach each other about their respective cultures is masterfully done. Lovers of character-focused sci-fi will find plenty to enjoy in this gripping alternate history.
Incredible Debut Novel!
“Axiom’s End” is the debut novel by Lindsey Ellis, and it is a strong start to her Noumena Series. It’s a different type of science fiction novel, which technically can be classified as alternative history, and first contact. It’s a character-driven story, with exciting action, and emotional impact. It’s set in an alternative 2007 America, where the significant departure from our world involves aliens.
Our protagonist is Cora Ortega, who was a linguistics student before she dropped out of college. She’s working a temporary job near her family home in Southern California, when the second meteor event occurs. This Obelus Event follows a previous event which was called Ampersand. These meteor strikes seem to many not to be natural, especially to Cora’s estranged father and radical transparency proponent, Nils Ortega.
Nil’s is best known for having released the “Fremda Memo.” This US Government document indicates that there have been aliens in custody for forty years, and that attempts to communicate with them have been completely unsuccessful. Cora wants nothing to do with these conspiracy theories, until suddenly one night, an alien appears in her home.
This begins the story of Cora, and the being called Ampersand. This relationship is really at the heart of the novel. It is the story of two radically different beings, coming to try to communicate with, and eventually to understand each other. It is a story of communication, assumptions, learning, and growth. It’s a surprising story, which had me from the beginning. I’m definitely planning on reading “Truth of the Divine” the next novel in the Noumena Series.
Interesting and Exciting
It didn’t take me long to get engrossed in this book. Definitely a page turner.
Fascinating, suspenseful, emotional
This is, easily, one of the best books I’ve read in a long while. I could barely put it down, and, when I had to, it was impossible to stop thinking about. The relationships throughout are spectacular and moving, and they guided the story wonderfully. The political climate Ellis decided to place this in was PERFECT. I can’t think of a premise better than Axiom’s End’s The-‘08-Crash-But-What-If-We-Also-Had-First-Contact. Absolutely brilliant. As well as this read, I was able to listen to the audiobook during a road trip and recommend it just as much! I’m counting down the days until the sequel!