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Catalyst: A Novel of Alien Contact Paperback – Sep 15 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Tachyon Publications; 1 edition (Sept. 15 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1892391384
  • ISBN-13: 978-1892391384
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 13.8 x 21.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #866,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 11 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Unexpected. Provocative. A page turner. Sept. 20 2006
By Rosa Lina - Published on
Format: Paperback
I was not expecting this dark science fiction novel from the extraordinary fantasist Nina Kiriki Hoffman, but once I started this disquieting coming-of-age story, I could not stop reading to see what would happen next. This is a story of alienation and what it means to be a human and/or a monster, and how easily the roles change, depending on perspective. A fascinating exploration of alien contact.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
How strange... Dec 6 2008
By Elizabeth - Published on
Format: Paperback
I am normally intensely fond of all of Nina Kiriki Hoffman's writing. I think her character development is phenomenal, her language is lyrical, and her ability to find magic in the ordinary delightful. This book, however, mystified me. It was a strange book, with some interesting concepts, and it held my attention, but I didn't particularly care about or like the characters. Furthermore, although I was moderately interested in what was going on by the time the book ended, the book just stopped. It felt like it ended in the middle of a sentence (although it didn't.) I would heavily recommend all of NKH's other fiction, but this book left something to be desired.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A new direction from a truly unique writer Jan. 12 2007
By Terrell T. Gibbs - Published on
Format: Paperback
A cover blurb suggests that Nina Kiriki Hoffman is "this generation's Ray Bradbury." That seems almost entirely wrong, but it is hard to think who would be a more valid comparison. Peter S Beagle, perhaps. Hoffman is more familiar from her modern fantasies regarding the interlocking lives of people touched by magic of one form or another. But in this short novel, she is doing something very different, a science fiction novel of first contact. And in the process, she has created a some genuinely unique aliens and alien biology.

As in her fantasies, Hoffman always surprises. Dramatic tension rarely resolves in a way that is familiar or expected. Situations that appear to be frightening often turn out to be benign, enemies find surprising common ground (as with the protagonist and the bully who is chasing him as the story opens). Conversations and character development take odd and surprising turns.

In some respects, this seems to be a young adult novel. The protagonist starts out beleaguered, but by the end seems on his way to developing his confidence and autonomy. There are some brief scenes involving sex, including a sexualized encounter with the aliens that is handled in a matter-of-fact manner that seems not at all salacious. I am hopeful that as she has in her fantasies, Hoffman will write more stories that interlock with this one. There is clearly room for sequels, as well as for further development of some of the incidental characters.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great Read Oct. 26 2006
By Chrisrap - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent novel, best SciFi I've read in years. Grabs you and never lets go. Great characters, unique plot. First Nina novel I read, will read all the rest. Got into my head, changed my views, one of the best things a novel can do.
A TRUE STORY May 25 2011
By HR - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It took me a long time to read this book... once I did, my immediate reaction was "where's the sequel?!!!"
The aliens, as she possibly intended, seemed a lot more benevolent than the humans. But that is the real experience of many people. This book is as much about power and class as it is about science fiction. Or rather, all good science fiction examines human concerns and this one does it remarkably well.

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