Alienation Blog Tour + Exclusive Excerpt

Readcommendations

Welcome to the Alienation BLOG HOP TOUR!

Please take your seat and strap yourself in, as we take you on an intergalactic tour. You will be amazed, entertained, and educated. Manoeuvre through the cosmos and be astounded at all you see. Hunt down the hidden words that will get you to your final destination where a one-of-a-kind award awaits one lucky traveller.

We’re here to celebrate the release of Alienation, book two of the humorous Sci-Fi series, Starstruck!

Alienation Large

Sally Webber’s dream is coming true: Zander is back and taking her out for a night on the town–on a planet hundreds of light years away from Earth. 

But when an accident separates her from her alien tour guide, she’s thrown into the seedy underbelly of an insane city where nothing is as it seems. Suddenly lost and desperate to get back home, Sally is willing to do anything to get out, even if it means accepting spontaneous marriage proposals, crashing some fancy parties, or joining what appears to be the space mob. 

All she wanted was some decent interstellar pizza, but now it might be the end of the world as evil nanobots and an out of control AI try to take the universe by force, and the only one who can stop them is missing in action. Sally has no choice but to try to stop them herself–if she can stay alive that long.

Pre-order your copy now!

Alienation is the fantastic sequel to the hit sci-fi comedy, Starstruck by S.E.Anderson.

Today’s word is: Undercity.

In the Dark


And now – the Exclusive Excerpt!

Da-Duhui.

This alien place now had a name: a word I could throw into my mind to classify everything I saw. To make sense of it. Da-Duhui. A city, light years away from my home.

Blayde decided this was the best time to close the window. Instantly, the air in the room shuddered and took a breath, as if a filter had been turned on. I breathed easier, relishing in the freshness.

She jumped down to the floor in a classy superhero landing, then looked up to check her handiwork. Five pairs of feet raced past the window, shouting muffled words.

“Are we… are we safe, here?” I asked.

Blayde shrugged. “Sure, so long as we don’t touch anything else.”

“And where are we?”

“Da-Duhui,” she said, cocking her head sideways. “Are you in shock? You realize we just had this conversation?”

“I got that bit,” I said, glancing around, “but what’s this place?”

“Museum? Art gallery? Could go either way,” said Blayde. “Try not to touch anything. There’s probably more alarms here than there were in that last place.”

“So, you have been here before?”

“M’yeah,” Blayde muttered. She pulled a tattered book from her inside pocket: her journal. She flipped through the pages, a look of intense concentration on her face. Her lips turned to form into a small frown. It was a look I was beginning to think was permanently baked into her features.

“I’m pretty sure we have,” said Zander, forcing concentration, as if that would help him stare back in time and bring up the memories locked in his mind. “I have no idea when, but recently enough that I recognize it. I know it was a good trip, though.”

“I’ve got two lines in the journal,” Blayde said, jamming her finger at the page as if to squash a bug. “Visited Da-Duhui. Avoid for a while. Don’t eat the pizza. And that’s it, so not much to go on.”

Zander rubbed his temples, squeezing his eyes shut.

“Hopefully some memory will surface,” he said, suddenly back to his usual cheerful self, “How long ago was it?”

“Before Ja’karon. Now, that was a good time. We should have taken Sally there.”

“You were almost eaten by a swamp-beast, and you tried to sell me into marriage with the earth king. Yeah, that was fun.”

“Don’t be so dramatic.” She grinned, slamming her journal shut. “He obviously liked you. And I didn’t get any complaints from you. Anyway, it was much more interesting than Da-Duhui, where the only thing I cared enough to write about is their bad food.”

“This place is plenty interesting,” said Zander, “and most of all, it’s safe. There’s no drama: just a good, classic alien city to show Sally. Harmless.”

Blayde let out a snort, making me wonder just how harmless this place was. If her idea of fun was narrowly avoiding death, I wanted to stay away from the places she gave five stars to on Yelp.

“We just escaped deadly fumes and a gun squad, Zander,” she said.

“But the upper levels are really nice.”

“If we can get Sally there in one piece, yes.”

“Which we will.”

“All this for dinner away from earth?” Blayde looked at me now, squinting in doubt. “You get much better food on her planet. I think. Honestly I wasn’t around long enough to check.”

“This isn’t about the food, Blayde!”

“Then again,” I said, “if you mentioned to stay away for a while, that’s probably for a reason, right? Should I ask…?”

“Ask all you want, but I don’t have an answer,” Blayde said as she stuffed her journal into the inside pocket of her red leather jacket. “You can’t expect me to remember everything. My mind has much more interesting things to focus on.”

“But it is safe, right?” I asked. My eyes glanced at the window the security guards had run past. Had they seen our faces? Would they come looking for us?

The siblings exchanged long looks. Blayde communicated with her eyebrows alone, raising and dropping them as she shifted through a wide range of expressions. Zander seemed to understand her, sort of; after a minute of watching her emote a variety of eyebrow poses, he let out a sigh and broke eye contact.

“As safe as it possibly could be,” he answered. “Crime rate is null on the higher levels. But you don’t have to worry about that: We’ll make sure nothing happens to you. I promise.”

“What Zander means to say,” Blayde interjected, “Is that this is a fun trip, and definitely not business. So, there’s nothing to worry about.”

“Remind me, what would a business trip for you two involve?” I asked. Blayde rolled her eyes. Typical. Well, I hadn’t known her all that long, certainly not enough to know what typical was. But it seemed typical enough.

“Let’s find something fun to do,” Zander said, rubbing his hands together with that smug grin on his face that meant something exciting was about to happen. The kind of grin that stretched too wide for his face. He looked like a kid in a candy store.

“First of all, let’s stop standing around this place, okay?” said Blayde, “it gives me the creeps.”

“Something gives you the creeps?” I asked, trotting after her as she walked towards the room’s only exit. “You? The immortal intergalactic space… what are you exactly? Travel blogger? A cop? An assassin?”

She shot me a glare. “I have a bad vibe, that’s all. Give me a break, will you?”

“Sorry, I just…”

Run run run run run!” shouted Zander, snapping my sentence in half, flashing past us in a whirl of black leather. His hand caught mine and tugged, and suddenly I was running after him, an alarm ringing in my ears.


 

Exciting, right? And only 10 days left until the release!

Follow this blog tour starting at your first stop UrbanHype101 and if you get lost in cyber space, come back to UrbanHype101 for the tour map.
There’s something new to read see or hear on each of these stops.

Don’t forget to hunt for that special word and if you find ALL of them, send them to scavengerhunt@bolidepublishing.com and you could win a signed copy of Alienation and a gift pack of unique swag. This contest is open internationally.

16h October Buried In Bookland

Starstruck and Alienation Add

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After Atlas

by Emma Newman

I was having quite a bad day when this book showed up on my doorstep, completely out of the blue, like a gift from the universe. I had never read Planetfall, but had heard great things about it, so you can imagine I was pretty stoked to get After Atlas, which is set in the same universe, but not exactly a sequel so I could actually jump right into it. Well, I dove. And the trip was insane.

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Govcorp detective Carlos Moreno was only a baby when Atlas left Earth to seek truth among the stars. But in that moment, the course of Carlos’s entire life changed. Atlas is what took his mother away; what made his father lose hope; what led Alejandro Casales, leader of the religious cult known as the Circle, to his door. And now, on the eve of the fortieth anniversary of Atlas’s departure, it’s got something to do why Casales was found dead in his hotel room—and why Carlos is the man in charge of the investigation.

To figure out who killed one of the most powerful men on Earth, Carlos is supposed to put aside his personal history. But the deeper he delves into the case, the more he realizes that escaping the past is not so easy. There’s more to Casales’s death than meets the eye, and something much more sinister to the legacy of Atlas than anyone realizes…

Carlos – or Carl, for short – is a detective for Norope’s ministry of Justice, serving out a fifty year contract before he can be free. Only a baby when Atlas took off with his mother, the media’s been on his back for years trying to get him to talk about how it feels to be abandoned like that. His past is murky, and filled in in small increments as he leads the investigation into the murder of Casales. He has a history with Alejandro: his father brought him into the Circle, the cult Alejandro leads, and Carl might be the only person to have ever gotten away. He’s determined to solve the murder.

There’s two aspects of this novel running in parallel: the story of Carlos, a detective solving a case, and the story of Earth, in shambles after Atlas left. This future earth is both a backdrop and a major player in the story, a complex society where everything is managed digitally, real food is a delicacy and actual privacy is worth all the money you have. Usually, when you have two narratives side by side, one is likely to overshadow the other, but here I was impressed that both were so compelling. I both had to know how the murder when down, and also wanted to stay longer in this word, exploring the complexities that Newman has conjured onto the page.

The ending, which ties in with Planetfall, was brilliant, but I am sure I would have enjoyed it even more if I had read Newman’s first book. I still enjoyed the novel as a separate piece, but now I’m desperate to read the first one so I can see the hints the author dropped along the way… while at the same time being completely crushed by the twists. So cruel!

I really have to thank Roc for sending me this book. It releases next week on Tuesday the 8th of November.

The Dark Side

By Anthony O’Neill
Reviewed by SA

Give me a fantastic Sci Fi any day, and I wont be able to move until I’ve finished reading it. With The Dark Side, I physically could not put it down, or else I would be stuck thinking about it every second until it was in my hands again. This book was gripping, thrilling, clever, and even funny, with such amazing science that I was completely engrossed from page one.

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In this dark and gripping sci-fi noir, an exiled police detective arrives at a lunar penal colony just as a psychotic android begins a murderous odyssey across the far side of the moon.

Purgatory is the lawless moon colony of eccentric billionaire, Fletcher Brass: a mecca for war criminals, murderers, sex fiends, and adventurous tourists. You can’t find better drugs, cheaper plastic surgery, or a more ominous travel advisory anywhere in the universe. But trouble is brewing in Brass’s black-market heaven. When an exiled cop arrives in this wild new frontier, he immediately finds himself investigating a string of ruthless assassinations in which Brass himself—and his equally ambitious daughter—are the chief suspects.

Meanwhile, two-thousand kilometers away, an amnesiac android, Leonardo Black, rampages across the lunar surface. Programmed with only the notorious “Brass Code”—a compendium of corporate laws that would make Ayn Rand blush—Black has only one goal in mind: to find Purgatory and conquer it.

The name Anthony O’Neill is going to soon become synonymous with impeccable world building. This author evokes a rich, complex world that follows the laws of science themselves. As a science geek, I absolutely loved how he infused the novel with the small details: like the large rain you would get in a humid hab on a rock where the gravity is so much lighter. Or the beautiful dust clouds created where the night meets day on the moon’s surface. Those beautiful, evocative details create a believable world you could almost imagine being in.

Not only that, but before each encounter with Leonardo Black, the Android walking the moon just to follow a set of programmed motivationals, the author details the life of the character who’s about to come into play. He shows us what it’s like back on earth, what it is to be a criminal in this near future. What line of thought can bring a person to live on the moon. The complexity of his background characters is astounding, and I honestly think he could write an entire book about each of them.

I myself could have read an entire book about Leonardo Black. This android was hilarious, even in his murderous rampage. His Brass code sounds like something out of the mouth of Donald Trump or Ann Rand. For example, he literally cannot spell surrender. He is motivated by a need to “Find Oz” and “become the wizard.” He’s a psycho, and yet he was my favorite character.

The main plot revolves around an Exiled cop, detective Justus, who’s trying to stop a wave of murders int he city of Purgatory. At first, I didn’t see how this storyline met  with that of Leonardo Black, but it all came together in the end in a really creative way. I loved how it felt like a noir detective novel from the 1950s, only set on the moon in a scientifically accurate future.

This book was pure FUN. I loved it. Think “The Martian” crossed over with a 1950s Noir novel. Fun for fans of thrillers and science fiction alike!

This novel comes out June 28th from Simon & Schuster.

The God Virus

by Indigo Voyager 
Reviewed by SA
It’s Self Published saturday! Today, we’ve got an awesome scifi novel from Indie Author Indigo Voyager: The God Virus. What a fascinating novel: pure science fiction at every level. I can’t think of a novel that works its way through every consequence of a premise like this one does. It’s so detailed, complex, and has fantastic characters you’ll love to follow.

Summary29498286

Infected by a DNA-altering virus, Derek and Alessandra develop strange and unnerving superpowers that challenge everything they thought they knew about the world ― allowing them to amass a fortune.

As they fall in love, they battle ruthless criminal mobs bent on harvesting the virus from their brains and intelligence agencies that try to enslave them.

When Derek signs up for an experimental drug treatment, he never expects to have his entire DNA changed. Soon, he’s able to experience out of body travels, and begins to develop abilities that stretch far beyond what is normal. Heck, he isn’t even human anymore…

After Allie contracts these same changes from him, the two of them are suddenly the only two people of their kind, and they’re hunted by everyone who wants to get their hands on this human enhancing ‘drug’. No one is safe: not Derek or Allie, nor their families, their friends… as the two fall in love with each other, they must fight the mob and angry governments in order to keep themselves, and everyone they love, safe from harm.

I can’t decide what I liked best about this book. As a scifi nerd, I absolutely the science behind it all. There was just so much in this book, and small, real sources and facts to back it all up. Do you remember the movie ‘Lucy’? This is how that movie could have succeeded. Humans outgrowing their humanity and becoming something more: backed by (somewhat feasible) science, and a thrilling plot that has you caring for them all the way through, urging them to succeed.

What marked me was, even as Derek and Allie stop being human, they never lose their humanity. They care so much about their families. This determination not only to care for their own, but to make the world a better place along the way, makes them incredibly likable. As they grow into their new abilities, they’re supportive of each other, and work through the hard times together. It makes them both relatable and lovable.

Surprisingly, all the ‘background’ characters have so much depth as well. From the mobster grandfather to the Hawaiian boyfriend, everyone has an intricate story to tell. When they were in trouble, you want to save them as quick as possible; while, when they were happy, you feel energized and excited for them.

The novel also deals with questions such as parallel universes and timelines; building and creating a society or civilization; making big bucks with stocks; Souls and Spirit Realms; and the Russian mob, too. As you can tell, there’s a whole lot going on!

All in all, if you need a good, complex science fiction novel, then you’re going to want to read The God Virus. It’s a fantastic, thrilling story which is incredibly memorable. Scifi fans everywhere are going to want to read more!

Purchase it on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/God-Virus-Indigo-Adventures-Book-ebook/dp/B01CPM6R5M

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Moxyland

by Lauren Beukes
Reviewed by SA

Prepare yourselves for an insane thrill ride, not for the feint of heart. This novel is everything a science fiction novel should be an more, and you’re going to fall in love with Beukes’s writing. And you’ll probably come out hating humans, but we all need a good dose of that from time to time.

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A frighteningly persuasive, high-tech fable, this novel follows the lives of four narrators living in an alternative futuristic Cape Town, South Africa. Kendra, an art-school dropout, brands herself for a nanotech marketing program; Lerato, an ambitious AIDS baby, plots to defect from her corporate employers; Tendeka, a hot-headed activist, is becoming increasingly rabid; and Toby, a roguish blogger, discovers that the video games he plays for cash are much more than they seem. On a collision course that will rewire their lives, this story crackles with bold and infectious ideas, connecting a ruthless corporate-apartheid government with video games, biotech attack dogs, slippery online identities, a township soccer school, shocking cell phones, addictive branding, and genetically modified art. Taking hedonistic trends in society to their ultimate conclusions, this tale paints anything but a forecasted utopia, satirically undermining the reified idea of progress as society’s white knight.

Moxyland is very character driven. All four characters live in South Africa, and their lives all intersect and their paths cross in interesting ways. And each of them are just so incredibly relatable: they’re all a little hot-headed, maybe entitled, self absorbed, and cynical about the world they live in. Whether they like it or not, they all have an important role to play.

We have Kendra, the artist, who’s trying to be independent: she joins a nanotech research program/marketing scheme, which will change her life forever. There’s Lerato, who’s trying to climb the corporate ladder while still hating the corporations. Ten, a activist who slowly begins to cross the line into terrorism, and Toby, a gamer and blogger who just wants to live his comfortable lifestyle. They all have different views of the world they live in, many too comfortable to do anything to change it, while others may try and do too much. it can all end in tears.

The future that Burkes imagines for South Africa is a very plausible one. Everyone is very dependent on their smart phone, as it carries their identity, their bank account, and will even be used in riot control or police arrests. Losing your phone is being tossed out of society. This, and other cool technologies I won’t spoil for you, made so much sense for the world of tomorrow.

The plot itself is a little complicated to get into at first, to see how everyone fits together, but it grows until a climax that is absolutely heart stopping. Seriously, I could not put this book down. It was so exciting, and terrifying… but no, no spoilers!

The novel is also a bit of a social commentary on us (well, a lot of a social commentary), about the power of consumerism and corporations, about complacency, about giving up our freedoms for perceived comfort. It’s not exactly eye opening, but still an amazing study. It kind of makes you hate us current humans.

For fans of Snow Crash, and cyberpunk, who love classics like Brave New World. This book will leave you breathless.

A new paperback edition comes out 16 Aug 2016 from Mulholland Books.

 

Nimona

by Noelle Stevenson
Reviewed by SA

Yes, I know, I’m breaking this blog’s trend a bit by talking about ANOTHER graphic novel (and not a recent one, or one about to come out!). But it’s for good reason. This amazing book came out last year, though I’ve only now gotten a chance to read it and review it. Because I have to say, it is epic in so many ways. So strap in – we’re going to talk about Nimona.

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Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

What first attracted me to this book was the promise of “Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism!” which are all things I love. I have a love of villains and novels thereof, and being a scientist in training, seeing them all come together with dragons is like christmas. I even bought a hardcover: I’m so glad I did, I will love this book forever.

When you start off the novel, it seems as though Nimona will only be the sidekick, a character for us to follow the story through. But as the story progresses, you can see she is much, much more than that. Her story is deeper than you would expect, and she’s more dangerous than the cheerful beginning would suggest. There is something dark to her… something that urges you to keep reading and know more. But this blog is spoiler free, so you have to pick it up to read it!

The world itself is amazing: while it appears to take place in medieval times, there is a firm knowledge of science, which is fundamental to the plot. The villain combines traits of both a knight and a scientist, which I now realize I want to be when I grow up. Lord Blackheart is awesome, smart, has an evil backstroy, but he also follows a set of morals, which is great to see in his kind of character. Magic is also seen as not so unusual in their world, so magic and science come together on a day to day basis.

While the novel follows the usual super villain tropes, it does so to perfection, both to poke fun and to add to the genre. It makes this book an incredibly fun read. I found myself laughing at some point, and then gripping the novel in anticipation as it threw me a curveball. I did not see that ending coming, and was swept off my feet.

So if you’re a fan of science, magic, knights, dragons, and super villains, you will love love love this graphic novel. Enjoy!

The Stargazer’s Sister

By Carrie Brown
Reviewed by SA

It’s no secret to readers of Readcommendations: I’m an astrophysics student. I love everything there is to do with science, with space and with fantastic women who paved the way for me to be where I am now. So of course I jumped at the opportunity to read a novel about Lina Herschel: sister of the great William Herschel, she herself was not only an assistant to the astronomer, but a powerful mind. This novel did not disappoint.

Summary

25430659This exquisitely imagined novel opens as the great astronomer and composer William Herschel rescues his sister Caroline from a life of drudgery in Germany and brings her to England and a world of music-making and stargazing. Lina, as Caroline is known, serves as William’s assistant and the captain of his exhilaratingly busy household. William is generous, wise, and charismatic, an obsessive genius whom Lina adores and serves with the fervency of a beloved wife. When William suddenly announces that he will be married, Lina watches as her world collapses.

I was sad to read that this was only based on Lina’s life, rather than be a biography, though I can easily imagine this as being the true story of her life: it is so believable. Brown manages to create a story that feels authentic, while at the same time weaving beautiful prose. The novel fits to its period, almost as if it was written by one of Lina’s contemporaries.

The novel is slow going, following Lina’s life from her childhood on. About a third of the story or so takes place at her childhood home, following the difficult life that the young woman leads. She struggles through life with an unloving mother, difficult siblings, and an illness that will leave her permanently disfigured.

It is once she and William are finally reunited that the story picks up. I loved reading about how she saw the world, and how Herschel explains it. Science in the Georgian era was fascinating: so much was being discovered, and the characters are excited and enthuastic about new learning. It gave the novel a sense of wonder which drew me right in. I was excited to read about what happened next, and was engrossed by the plot.

Lina is a fantastic character, whom you can’t help but love. You relate to her instantly: her hunger for knowledge, her endless ideas. Seeing her trapped by her gender is painful; seeing her take control of her life is invigorating. She works far too hard though, and at moments she is much less likable, but I still loved learning more about this young woman.

Even if she wasn’t a real person, I would have read this story anyways. Knowing she’s the first woman to have been paid for scientific work, and to have eventually even have received the gold medal of the Royal Astronomical Society made me love her even more. Oh, and she discovered quite a few comets. Impressive woman!

Her borderline obsession with her brother was something I would like to discuss with other readers sometime. After he decides to marry, the novel revolves around if she can build her own life for herself. Can she be happy on her own?

A fantastic woman in science, in history: a must read. Pick it up on January 19th, 2016, by Pantheon. Thank you Penguin first to read for the chance to read this novel.

Bonus: One of my favorite paintings, representing a Georgian experiment in science. 

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An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump
1768, Joseph Wright ‘of Derby’

I Am Radar

22571542By Reif Larsen Reviewed by SA Stop everything and pre-order I Am Radar (Reif Larsen), because you can’t spend another second without having read this book. This novel is fantastic, and just might be my new favorite book – ever. I would like to say that it was as if Kurt Vonnegut wrote “Cloud Atlas”, but at the same time, it’s practically impossible to put the feeling I had reading this book into words.

Brief, spoiler free summary: In 1975, during a blackout, a boy is born coal black to a white couple, and the child is named Radar;  during the second world war, a group of Norwegian teachers create a society of artists and scientists that puts on radical performances in wartime; a man creates small puppet shows in black boxes in Serbia, so incredible you may think they are alive; and a child is found on a rubber plantation in Cambodia, his adoptive father deciding to raise him to be the greatest physicist the country has ever seen. Spanning decades and crossing the globe, I Am Radar takes you on an unforgettable journey, bridging art and science in an epic novel you will be unable to put down.

It’s a difficult plot to explain, because of how character driven this novel is. Just like Miro with his small black boxes, Larsen seems able to breathe life into his creations, giving every character incredible depth and dimension. I felt deeply connected to everyone I was introduced to, even minor characters, which made switching from one part (or perspective) to the next almost painful. Remarkably, the characters grow and change, a reminder that we are never the same person through our lives, and that life is unexpected, and will throw anything at us. Never before have a read a book where I was so aware of what made the characters tick.

To add to the realism, the author often ‘sources’ his facts, using photos, newspaper clippings, and other physical ‘evidence’ to support what his story. It blurred the line between fact and fiction, making me wonder where the truth ended and the story began. It makes the reader want to research for themselves, to see if any of these people really existed, or if the events ever happened.

But the best part of this novel for me was the melding or science and art. The artists use puppetry – think less muppet, more Royal de Luxe – to create both installation and performance pieces, using incredibly skilled techniques, pushing the limits of science to create beauty. These performances are told to us in such detail that we ourselves can imagine being there, and we can interpret these fictitious events for ourselves as true works of art, transcending the page. I wish I would have seen the ‘Conference of the Birds’ act for myself. I guess that’s why I came our of reading this book feeling the awe that I did: it was an incredible read, and I want to share it with everyone. I want to talk to my friends about the performances, as if they had actually happened, and what they would mean. I want to meet the author and say… Wow. 

I Am Radar comes out on February 25th.