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Light from Other Stars

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From the author of national bestseller The Book of Speculation, a poignant, fantastical novel about the electric combination of ambition & wonder that keeps us reaching toward the heavens. Eleven-year-old Nedda Papas is obsessed with becoming an astronaut. In 1986 in Easter, a small Florida Space Coast town, her dreams seem almost within reach—if she can just grow up fast enough. From the author of national bestseller The Book of Speculation, a poignant, fantastical novel about the electric combination of ambition & wonder that keeps us reaching toward the heavens. Eleven-year-old Nedda Papas is obsessed with becoming an astronaut. In 1986 in Easter, a small Florida Space Coast town, her dreams seem almost within reach—if she can just grow up fast enough. Theo, the scientist father she idolizes, is consumed by his own obsessions. Laid off from his job at NASA and still reeling from the loss of Nedda’s newborn brother several years before, Theo turns to the dangerous dream of extending his living daughter's childhood just a little longer. The result is an invention that alters the fabric of time. Amidst the chaos that erupts, Nedda must confront her father and his secrets, the ramifications of which will irrevocably change her life, her community, and the entire world. But she finds an unexpected ally in Betheen, the mother she’s never quite understood, who surprises Nedda by seeing her more clearly than anyone else. Decades later, Nedda has achieved her long-held dream, and as she floats in antigravity, far from earth, she and her crewmates face a serious crisis. Nedda may hold the key to the solution, if she can come to terms with her past and the future that awaits her. Light from Other Stars is about fathers and daughters, women and the forces that hold them back, and the cost of meaningful work. It questions how our lives have changed, what progress looks like, and what it really means to sacrifice for the greater good.


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From the author of national bestseller The Book of Speculation, a poignant, fantastical novel about the electric combination of ambition & wonder that keeps us reaching toward the heavens. Eleven-year-old Nedda Papas is obsessed with becoming an astronaut. In 1986 in Easter, a small Florida Space Coast town, her dreams seem almost within reach—if she can just grow up fast enough. From the author of national bestseller The Book of Speculation, a poignant, fantastical novel about the electric combination of ambition & wonder that keeps us reaching toward the heavens. Eleven-year-old Nedda Papas is obsessed with becoming an astronaut. In 1986 in Easter, a small Florida Space Coast town, her dreams seem almost within reach—if she can just grow up fast enough. Theo, the scientist father she idolizes, is consumed by his own obsessions. Laid off from his job at NASA and still reeling from the loss of Nedda’s newborn brother several years before, Theo turns to the dangerous dream of extending his living daughter's childhood just a little longer. The result is an invention that alters the fabric of time. Amidst the chaos that erupts, Nedda must confront her father and his secrets, the ramifications of which will irrevocably change her life, her community, and the entire world. But she finds an unexpected ally in Betheen, the mother she’s never quite understood, who surprises Nedda by seeing her more clearly than anyone else. Decades later, Nedda has achieved her long-held dream, and as she floats in antigravity, far from earth, she and her crewmates face a serious crisis. Nedda may hold the key to the solution, if she can come to terms with her past and the future that awaits her. Light from Other Stars is about fathers and daughters, women and the forces that hold them back, and the cost of meaningful work. It questions how our lives have changed, what progress looks like, and what it really means to sacrifice for the greater good.

30 review for Light from Other Stars

  1. 4 out of 5

    Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters

    Wow!!! .... I was left with a big lump in my throat as I turned the last few pages. I sat quietly just staring out the window. It’s not a book one easily jumps away from and walks off quickly. It’s a book that transforms us....one we continue to reflect. It brims with heart - pleasures and pain between parents and their children. It’s a highly imaginable story - one that expands our horizons between earth and space. This novel is wonderful - extraordinary - incredibly ambitious.....and Wow!!! .... I was left with a big lump in my throat as I turned the last few pages. I sat quietly just staring out the window. It’s not a book one easily jumps away from and walks off quickly. It’s a book that transforms us....one we continue to reflect. It brims with heart - pleasures and pain between parents and their children. It’s a highly imaginable story - one that expands our horizons between earth and space. This novel is wonderful - extraordinary - incredibly ambitious.....and as ambitious as its heroine: *Nedda Papas*. Eleven year old Nedda wanted to be an astronaut. She wanted to go to the moon, walk on its craters. She wanted her own space shuttle and to feel what weightlessness was like. The story begins when Nedda has already been in outer space for two years. “Aboard Chawla”. There are three years left before arrival. Meet the other crewmates: Evgeni - His eyesight was suffering. It was progressive astigmatism due to lack of gravity. Amit Singh - Mission Commander Louisa Marcanta - physician Dr. Stein - psychologist From Outer Space: Nedda remembers ‘home’ .....remembers her family - mom, dad, and close friend Denny....and others in her community. Nedda remembers “running between rows of orange trees, bare feet against rough soil, the dusty yellow dirt, crabgrass where the trimmers couldn’t reach, flies.” “She missed Denny. There are parts of his memory she would never be privy to. Yet they were tied together by the orange grove from a trauma as much as friendship. Yet they hadn’t talked since she left for Mars”. “Chawla has a heartbeat - listening in the dark to the sounds of the module helped her stop thinking of home, about Danny, and about her parents.” “Chawla was the first ship to tie life support to an accelerated radioisotope thermoelectric generator. ( called Amadeus) Amadeus where is separate from the engines, powering the module when it served as shelter. Amadeus meant deep space travel for humans. We follow Nedda during her childhood in Easter, a small Florida Space Coast town - and into outer space. During Nedda’s childood - her scientist father, Theo, invented a time-altering machine. There are secrets her father has been keeping related to this machine. Nedda will discover her dad’s secrets and have choices to make. Nedda’s mom, Betheen, could bake like nobodies business....”Champagne Water cake?”, anyone? Customers often asked why her baking was better than anybody else.....”because I’m a chemist, asshole”, The words always threaten escape! We meet several unforgettable characters in Easter, Florida. The town is small. There are personal tragedies - the kind that leave permanent scars.....the kind that no matter how far into outer space one goes - those tragic memories don’t get erased. And there was The Challenger memory: On Jan 28, 1986....the NASA space shuttle Challenger exploded after liftoff killing 7 astronauts. Nedda was in her 5th grade class at school. Her teacher, Mrs. Wheeler, turned on the classroom television for the kids to watch the shuttle launch. She and her classmates watched 7 people die. Judy Resnik, school teacher, heroine to many children, was gone. I’m reminded of watching myself. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 30 years. Filled with dreams, passion, challenges, empathy, grief, love, loss, with insightful prose that is simply luminescent. Thank you Nicole and Bloomsbury Publishing. And many thanks to Erika Swyler...who captured a world so internal an intimate - that these characters ( especially Nedda), will be etched in my memory for a long time.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dorie - Cats&Books :)

    ***NOW AVAILABLE*** This was a 4 star read for me. This is my second book by Ms. Swyler and it is really quite different. I believe that “The Book of Speculation” was more magical realism and this one is science fiction. I think it might be important for readers to know that. I do not read science fiction and some parts of this novel were just plain frustrating for me. The believability factor was a problem for me at first but then I thought I would just sort of turn myself ***NOW AVAILABLE*** This was a 4 star read for me. This is my second book by Ms. Swyler and it is really quite different. I believe that “The Book of Speculation” was more magical realism and this one is science fiction. I think it might be important for readers to know that. I do not read science fiction and some parts of this novel were just plain frustrating for me. The believability factor was a problem for me at first but then I thought I would just sort of turn myself over to the book and just see where it would carry me. We are thrown into the future right at the beginning of the book as Nedda Papas is waking up on the spaceship Crawla, to the sound of birdsong from her now long ago childhood. She and her crewmates are on a several years journey to another planet where they will build a base and determine whether this may be a planet suitable for human life since earth is slowly dying. The science part of this section and a lot of the book is what dragged for me and some of the descriptions were quite long. It was in the frustrating scientific details that this book lost me a little, I just wanted to get on with the story! I however did learn, and you should know it now because it will appear many times in the book that : “ Entropy is the measure of randomness or disorder in a system”. (wikepedia) or as Nedda had learned from her father, “ Is it about entropy? . . . . .He told me that’s what the machine was for. To control it. To speed it up, or to stop it. It’s heat loss, energy loss, but it’s time too” The setting for the dual timeline is 1986 in a small town around NASA’s rocket and shuttle launching station. Nedda Papes was lying on the top of her dad’s car waiting to catch a glimpse of Halley’s Comet. We get to know Nedda very well, her love of all things space related, her obsession to someday be an astronaut. The absolute horror as she watched on the TV at school, The Challenger shuttle blow up with all of the astronaut’s lives lost. She is 11 years old and is brilliant in science but otherwise a typical pre-adolescent. She has a good friend, Denny, whose orange grove they like to hide in, they also like to stop in Pete’s backyard, he collects old NASA equipment and just anything basically from all of the previous launches, he used to work there and if something interesting was being thrown away Pete would probably bring it home. There are lot of characters in this novel and I won’t go through all of them, they are flawed, some likable, some not, but I found them believable. You have also read a blurb about where some of the story is going, but I think you will all be surprised. I’m not going to talk about the plot more in fear of spoiling your enjoyment of the book. This novel I believe is about exploration and loss, fathers and daughters, mothers and how they are sometimes seen through their daughter’s eyes. (Betheen told her daughter “Don’t think for one second he’s the only reason you’re smart”.) At times I wasn’t sure where the many threads of this story were leading but it was a fun and entertaining ride. I received an ARC of this novel from the author and publisher through NetGalley

  3. 5 out of 5

    Angela M

    4.5 stars Science fiction is not a genre I typically read, but there was something about the description of this book that appealed to me. I am more than a little surprised at how much I loved it. Most of the sci-fi stuff was beyond me and while I didn’t find most of it believable, the author did a fabulous job of helping me to imagine it. Eleven year old Nedda loves space travel and astronauts and science and her heart is broken when The Challenger crashes. Nedda’s love of space travel and 4.5 stars Science fiction is not a genre I typically read, but there was something about the description of this book that appealed to me. I am more than a little surprised at how much I loved it. Most of the sci-fi stuff was beyond me and while I didn’t find most of it believable, the author did a fabulous job of helping me to imagine it. Eleven year old Nedda loves space travel and astronauts and science and her heart is broken when The Challenger crashes. Nedda’s love of space travel and her ambition to go to space is realized in this dual time narrative. The story begins from her present on a spacecraft on a journey to a planet to explore whether it could be a safe haven as the earth slowly is destructing . It moves back and forth to 1986, when she is eleven, the time of an experiment that alters time, when so much changes. Her father, a professor who has lost his job at NASA has also had his heart broken by a loss that he and Nedda’s mother have kept from her. Theo is on a mission to “extend her childhood”. “What an incredible thing it would be to hold on to that precise moment where genius was born. what an incredible thing it would be to hold on to that precise moment.” A well meaning and full of love desire, but his experiment turns into something that goes horribly wrong, affecting their entire town. The narratives connect in a way that is both beautiful and heartbreaking. This is a thought provoking story full of heart and the depth of love for one’s children that every parent knows and this is reflected in both her father Theo and her mother Betheen. There’s such humanity, the relationships and emotions are not hard to imagine at all . They are as real as they get. While this book was on my radar and an arc already on my kindle, it was Elyse’s beautifully convincing review that moved me to read this. Here’s her review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... I received an advanced copy of this book from Bloomsbury through NetGalley.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Greendale

    Intriguing premise but innefective execution. Would recommend Light from Other Stars to fans of The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan or Borne by Jeff Vandermeer. She'd been little when he'd told her about the beginning of the universe and how the solar system was born. How the sun was like an island, and the planets were ships sailing around it. He'd said, "Pluto is our far star sailor," the way other people said Once upon a time. His words opened a door inside her.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    Eleven year old Nedda Papas wants to be an astronaut. Her father once worked for NASA (was laid off) and she is devastated when she watched the Challenger Catastrophe at her school. I could relate to this part of the book as I also watched the Challenger break apart 73 seconds into its flight live in my science class. But that is not where the book begins, the book begins when an adult Nedda is in space aboard the Chawla. She has been in space for two years and has several more to go before they Eleven year old Nedda Papas wants to be an astronaut. Her father once worked for NASA (was laid off) and she is devastated when she watched the Challenger Catastrophe at her school. I could relate to this part of the book as I also watched the Challenger break apart 73 seconds into its flight live in my science class. But that is not where the book begins, the book begins when an adult Nedda is in space aboard the Chawla. She has been in space for two years and has several more to go before they land. The crew is in search of a new place to live as Earth is slowly dying. While in space she is looking back at her childhood, her parents, her father's experiment, her friend, Denny, the Challenger explosion, her school and community. This book was a bit of a struggle for me and there were times that I thought of putting the book down and not finishing. But I pushed through. I am on the fence with Science fiction- I either love of or just can't connect with it. As I stated I struggled with this one. The science parts really slowed this book down for me and I found that as always, it was the human relationships which worked. I did appreciate how the Author tried to give the reader various perspectives through the people in the town about Nedda's father’s experiment and his reason for the experiment. I typically do not have an issue with suspending belief but for some reason this just didn't work for me here. Consider me an outlier. The dual time lines didn't bother me however, as I mentioned I just struggled through this entire book. I believe this is more of a case of it is me and not the book. Read other reviews and read the book synopsis. I believe most science fiction fans will really enjoy this book. Thank you to Bloomsbury Publishing and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bkwmlee

    I don’t normally read science fiction and I’m usually not too keen on books about space travel either, so I surprised even myself when I decided to pick up Erika Swyler’s latest work Light from Other Stars . It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why, but when I first read the summary, I was drawn to the story and was curious how it would turn out. While I did end up liking the story as well as the characters a lot, I have to admit that all the science and space stuff went way over my head, to the point that I don’t normally read science fiction and I’m usually not too keen on books about space travel either, so I surprised even myself when I decided to pick up Erika Swyler’s latest work Light from Other Stars . It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why, but when I first read the summary, I was drawn to the story and was curious how it would turn out. While I did end up liking the story as well as the characters a lot, I have to admit that all the science and space stuff went way over my head, to the point that I considered abandoning this more than once and moving on to something requiring less struggle. I persevered however and I’m so glad I did, as the story was definitely worth it, especially the aspects of family, relationships, love, and humanity that were so deftly explored through the events that unfold around the main character Nedda Papas in both the past timeline (which took place in 1986) and the future, inside the space shuttle Chawla. Speaking of which, the dual timeline format utilized in this story was unique and unlike many of the other books I’ve read before — two seemingly unrelated narratives that went off on very different tangents, but then converged in a way that surprised me. The writing was the other aspect of this novel that stood out — it was incredibly descriptive for sure, but more significantly, there was also a gentleness to it, with the author taking a delicate approach to all the characters while not hiding the flaws that made them human. These were characters that were realistically drawn, yet at the same time, also didn’t feel real given the things that happen in the story. Surreal – that’s the word that kept churning about in my mind throughout the entire time I was reading this. Despite that, as well as the difficult (for me) subject matter, I still felt captivated by the story and the lyrical nature of the prose. If this review sounds vague, it’s deliberate, as this is one of those stories that needs to be experienced for yourself. To be quite honest, I actually don’t think I understood a lot of what I read, since, like I said earlier, I get lost easily when it comes to stories that are heavy on scientific stuff and space travel, but I think what helped the most in this case was focusing on the other elements of the story that were more easily accessible and not thinking too much about the parts I was not able to wrap my head around. This is my first time reading this author’s works and even though I struggled through this one (largely due to the subject matter), I am still interested in reading more of her works in the future. This was definitely a different experience for me and while I probably still won’t choose to read a whole lot of science fiction because it’s just not my thing, I don’t mind occasionally reading outside of my comfort zone, especially since finishing a book like this one feels so rewarding! Received ARC from Bloomsbury Publishing via NetGalley.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Evelina | AvalinahsBooks

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Light from Other Stars is certainly not an easy book to review. It holds a lot of meaning and very deep emotion, and the idea behind it is definitely interesting – a science experiment gone wrong that sends the whole town into a temporal bubble and makes it effectively disappear for some 50 years, after which it surfaces like some real life nostalgia in a futuristic world of our day. So while it's a great premise, it's just... So, so sad.Light from Other Stars is largely about the trauma the main c Light from Other Stars is certainly not an easy book to review. It holds a lot of meaning and very deep emotion, and the idea behind it is definitely interesting – a science experiment gone wrong that sends the whole town into a temporal bubble and makes it effectively disappear for some 50 years, after which it surfaces like some real life nostalgia in a futuristic world of our day. So while it's a great premise, it's just... So, so sad.Light from Other Stars is largely about the trauma the main character went through in losing her dad, her childish innocence, her best friend and the tether to a safe, carefree reality – something we all lose sooner or later, as we grow up. Those kinds of topics are no walk in the part, so I kept stopping as I was reading because it would just keep bringing me down. Light from Other Stars is told through two perspectives, the past and the present for the same character, Nedda. She witnesses the deaths of a group of astronauts during a NASA launch, but more than that – the very next day something terrible happens in her town and her father is to blame. It's also something really, really weird and nobody will even believe her at first, and she has to deal with it both physically as well as emotionally. The other perspective is also Nedda, but years later, on a colonizing ship to Mars, trying to not die with complications of the trip. Things on Earth also don't seem to be going that well. So none of these storylines are by any means cheerful. However, the biggest problem with the Light from Other Stars for me wasn't that it was sad, but the fact that it dragged. I only became invested way past the halfway point, so if I was a quicker DNF'er, I would have never read on. Light from Other Stars is about loss, love, pain and regret, lost time. But it's also about science, the future and building a new life somewhere else. It's about parents and children, loners and friends. It's about growing up, growing apart and moving on. These emotional concepts are presented through a temporal anomaly and this makes them even more real. How would it be if you could see your parents as children or meet them young? Or if you lost them for reasons other than old age? What if you could talk to your child before they were born to you? What would your feelings become and how would you deal with the loss, the grief, the confusion? Light from Other Stars deals with these questions and more, and the pain explored is profound, but so is the growth and understanding gained. I thank the publisher for giving me a free copy for review through NetGalley in exchange to my honest review. This has not affected my opinion. Book Blog | Themed Bookstagram | Quick Update Bookstagram | Bookish Twitter

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jypsy

    I loved the premise of Light From Other Stars when I read it. The story lost me, unfortunately. It's not a bad story or badly written. I got lost somewhere in the scientific stuff, and I just couldn't maintain interest enough. I skimmed through probably half of the story. If scientific stuff is your thing, you'll like it. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mari

    4.5 stars I loved this. As usual, I'll start with reasons you might not: it is a slow story that jumps between times. It carefully lays out the story of the past and future, and while both times have plots that have some urgency, the author is in no rush to get anywhere. The writing is descriptive and heavy. It is also very science heavy. If you are the kind of person who often skips over details to get to the meat of the plot, I have a feeling this will feel like a slog to you. The main char 4.5 stars I loved this. As usual, I'll start with reasons you might not: it is a slow story that jumps between times. It carefully lays out the story of the past and future, and while both times have plots that have some urgency, the author is in no rush to get anywhere. The writing is descriptive and heavy. It is also very science heavy. If you are the kind of person who often skips over details to get to the meat of the plot, I have a feeling this will feel like a slog to you. The main character is a bright 11-year-old for the pieces of the past story. Some people just really have a hard time reading about or from smart children, and if that's you, skip this one. I loved the absolute wonder Swyler created with her careful, science-filled writing that still felt like magic. I loved that she takes very big ideas and grounds them in experiences of loneliness and grief and feeling lonely in your grief, even when surrounded by other people. She takes a good look at a complicated family, existing around each other until a big even makes them really consider their relationships. My feelings for Nada's mother did such an about face. By the end, most of the knot in my throat was for her, the baker, the chemist, the mother, and the damn hero of this story. This is a book that will stay with me. The story, the construction, the melting of historical fiction and sci-fi-- I'll be thinking about it for a while.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This is a deeply beautiful book (more like a 4.5 for me), although it has a promotional pitch that is perhaps misleading. Indeed this book consists of two parallel stories: Nedda's father's science experiment going array when she is a child and flash forward scenes aboard a space ship when Nedda is older and an astronaut. What I think you DON'T get from the promotional copy is that this book is sci-fi and those elements will figure prominently into one (and ultimately both) of these plot lines.< This is a deeply beautiful book (more like a 4.5 for me), although it has a promotional pitch that is perhaps misleading. Indeed this book consists of two parallel stories: Nedda's father's science experiment going array when she is a child and flash forward scenes aboard a space ship when Nedda is older and an astronaut. What I think you DON'T get from the promotional copy is that this book is sci-fi and those elements will figure prominently into one (and ultimately both) of these plot lines. I only mention this because when this book first went into that sci-fi direction, it threw me for a loop. Nedda and her friend Denny have an exceptional morning (as many kids in my generation did) watching the Challenge disaster on TV at school. Being that this is a story about a girl who ultimately becomes an astronaut (who adorable muses to herself as a child, "it was stupid to send grown men into space when a girl would be a better fit"), it feels like this desire to go to outer space will be the main narrative thrust of the plot. However, after the crash the kids encounter a small monkey that's captured in a kind of space/time bubble and things get decidedly weird very fast. If you're down with that sort of thing, then buckle up...you're in for a fascinating ride. If however, you were expecting more of a family drama with space themes, you may be disappointed. In some ways, reading this book requires a level of trust in the author. The plot spirals out in all sorts of unexpected directions that might have some readers pausing to ask themselves, "Wait, what?" But, if you stick with it, all of these points ultimately connect to each other and fit together seamlessly by the book's conclusion to create something beautiful. I'm also giving this book bonus point for having an incredibly kick-ass mom character in Betheen. Would that all of us had the skills to handle a huge life/existential crisis so gracefully and parent so smoothly. "Be scared" she says to her daughter at one point, "But don't let being scared keep you from doing something. Important things are always frightening. We can be scared, and we can work scared." (Can someone make Betheen our next President?) My only quibble with the book (and it's a small one) is that I would have loved to gotten to know more about the townspeople in Easter. But I think if we did this would have been very a different book--a book about a strange event in a small town. And ultimately this book has bigger goals--examining loss and fear, family and survival. I'm thankful to the author and NetGalley for granting me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Jeffers

    I have super mixed feelings about this book. There were some parts of it that were incredibly well-done, but other parts of it that were a slog to get through because they were so bogged down by scientific detail. I gotta think about it a little more...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Moonkiszt

    I loved how this book started, with the poem "High Flight" “High Flight Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there, I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung My eager craft through footless I loved how this book started, with the poem "High Flight" “High Flight Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there, I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung My eager craft through footless halls of air.... Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace. Where never lark, or even eagle flew — And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod The high untrespassed sanctity of space, - Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.” ― John Gillespie MaGee Jr. I was intrigued by what I read of this book, time mixed with kids and families. . . .and reading into the first bits urged me forward. Somewhere rather early in with the experiments and poking marmosets I started getting confused. And from there it was downhill. You might as well have been trying to tell me the story of the 3 Bears and Goldilocks in Mongolian. Wasn't happening. I decided that I was going to finish, though, and I did. This was audible for me, and seriously, I kept falling asleep at the end. Had to listen to the last chapter 4 times. I still do not get it. Time in a bubble and 4 people in a spaceship, a village disappeared, and life cycles cycling at top speed. Yep. Don't get it at all. I'm going to leave it there, and touch the hand of God. He'll figure it out and let me know later. He's great that way. 2 stars, probably my fault.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Erika Swyler

    Is it time? Yes. It's time. I wrote this book and I'm very fond of it. I hope you are too. :-)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Carla (Carla's Book Bits)

    Just... wow. I'm speechless. There's not much you can say about this book but that it truly understands loneliness... but it makes you feel seen and understood in it. It's hopeful, ambitious, and full of life and love. Be aware that this might not be for everyone, and that's okay, speculative fiction rarely is. But this is a story that's ambitious, large in scope, and never talks down to the reader. This is quite heavy in science and engineering, but even a person like me, Just... wow. I'm speechless. There's not much you can say about this book but that it truly understands loneliness... but it makes you feel seen and understood in it. It's hopeful, ambitious, and full of life and love. Be aware that this might not be for everyone, and that's okay, speculative fiction rarely is. But this is a story that's ambitious, large in scope, and never talks down to the reader. This is quite heavy in science and engineering, but even a person like me, who's no closer to an expert than the next person, had no problem understanding the gist of things. It also needs to be said: If it wasn't for the fact that I was reading these scenes in public, I would've been moved to tears twice by this book. It's tender and heartbreaking, but large-hearted. Such a delicate story done so well. Erika Swyler is an author that I need to keep watch of in the future. I received a pre-publication copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Aqsa (On Hiatus)

    Read Elyse's wonderful review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  16. 5 out of 5

    NerdyBookishBeauty

    This is one of those “find a quiet place” books. The intricate vocabulary and in depth story needs your undivided attention. It is a wonderful story and Swyler is an amazing author that causes you to fall into the world like Alice. I definitely recommend this read!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Frosty61

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is a poignant story that surprised me with its heartfelt relationships woven into a plot full of physics and math. I thought I'd get too confused and be tempted to give up as it's such science-based tale. Yes, there were many passages that were way over my head but I just went with it and stopped struggling to understand them. Through the excellent writing, I got the gist of it. There are dual timelines, different POVs, and time itself plays a major role in the plot yet it doesn't get muddl This is a poignant story that surprised me with its heartfelt relationships woven into a plot full of physics and math. I thought I'd get too confused and be tempted to give up as it's such science-based tale. Yes, there were many passages that were way over my head but I just went with it and stopped struggling to understand them. Through the excellent writing, I got the gist of it. There are dual timelines, different POVs, and time itself plays a major role in the plot yet it doesn't get muddled or bogged down. The human relationships are what kept me interested and reading well into the night. The sadness is tempered with awe for the universe. My favorite aspect of the book: two strong, smart female characters, Nedda and her mother, Betheen, who end up saving the day at a huge cost.

  18. 4 out of 5

    ramona

    5/5 stars Content includes depictions of child death, depression, family violence, psoriatic arthritis and vision loss This book is dedicated to the Hubble Space Telescope, which opened the universe to me. It is also dedicated to the teachers who did not believe a fifth-grade girl could speak knowledgeably about the Hubble Space Telescope. You remain embarrassingly wrong. I feel the need to start my review by thanking Carla (Carla's Book Bits), since it was her review that made me request this book from NetGalley as well immedialoss 5/5 stars Content includes depictions of child death, depression, family violence, psoriatic arthritis and vision loss This book is dedicated to the Hubble Space Telescope, which opened the universe to me. It is also dedicated to the teachers who did not believe a fifth-grade girl could speak knowledgeably about the Hubble Space Telescope. You remain embarrassingly wrong. I feel the need to start my review by thanking Carla (Carla's Book Bits), since it was her review that made me request this book from NetGalley as well immediately. I was never gladder to add another book to my already stressfully big pile of unread eARCs, because long story short, Light from Other Stars is one of my new favourite books and one I will keep thinking about for a while! The story follows Nedda Papas. In the first timeline she's a space-obsessed eleven years old, living in a Space Coast town (Florida, USA) who can't wait to grow up to become an astronaut herself. In the second timeline, decades later, she achieved her long-held dream, living and working aboard a space shuttle with three crewmates. Their mission is to colonize another planet by the end of the decade, because earth is increasingly uninhabitable. When the crew faces a serious crisis, it's Nedda who may know how to solve it, if she's able to let her mind wander back in time to bring back weighty memories about her idealistic father she idolized, her brilliant and determined mother and her childhood friend who quite literally lived a life worth many lifetimes. It's an ambitious story full of obsession and passion, loss, grief, love and empathy, hope, curiosity and humanity. The characters and relationships they have to one another are complicated, multilayered, but also profound and intricately evolving throughout. The plot is very science heavy and I don't pretend to have understood it all, but the descriptions and explanations made it seem genuinely possible within this story's realm. As it is with Speculative Fiction, this won't be for everyone, so I don't give Light from Other Stars a generalized recommendation. The themes of time, space and human connections reminded me about the movies Interstellar (2014) and Annihilation (2018) though and if those are movies you enjoyed, then definitely give this book a try! Personally I know, I will be rereading this book at some point and I have to check out Erika Swyler's previous and future works for sure. Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury USA for giving me the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kris Waldherr

    I was fortunate to have read LIGHT FROM OTHER STARS as a manuscript. It moved me to tears. More to come closer to publication.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jocelyn

    Synopsis Set amidst the backdrop of the 1986 Challenger explosion that devastated a nation, a scientific experiment gone inconceivably wrong forever alters the lives of everyone in Nedda’s small Florida Space Coast town. Her tenuous relationship with her mother is pushed to the limit as they have to work together to try and save those they care about most from being lost to them- and to time- forever. Then, in the future, adult Nedda is aboard a ship headed to a planet that could b Synopsis Set amidst the backdrop of the 1986 Challenger explosion that devastated a nation, a scientific experiment gone inconceivably wrong forever alters the lives of everyone in Nedda’s small Florida Space Coast town. Her tenuous relationship with her mother is pushed to the limit as they have to work together to try and save those they care about most from being lost to them- and to time- forever. Then, in the future, adult Nedda is aboard a ship headed to a planet that could be the dying Earth’s salvation. The realities of long distance space travel wreak havoc on the fragile human bodies of the crew as they fight to reach humanity’s last hope at survival. Review A blend of sci-fi with a dash of historical fiction and a hefty dose of family drama make up the intricate tale that is Light From Other Stars. To say much more than my brief synopsis above would be giving away a lot of spoilers so I’ll try my best to explain how much this book moved me without ruining it for you. Much like I was as a child, precocious Nedda is obsessed with everything NASA which is lucky given her proximity to Kennedy Space Center. Most of this gripping book was set during a time when shuttle launches were national events that inspired wonder, especially in young scientifically inclined minds like Nedda’s. Also like Nedda, I have a brilliant chemist mother who gave up her career for motherhood and a scientist father obsessed with his experiments in his home laboratory. So it’s pretty obvious this book struck a personal chord for me, but even if it hadn’t I still would have enjoyed it. One of the reasons for this is the way it celebrates women in the sciences, showing them time and time again saving the day whether it was in a small town stuck in a time loop or during a life or death mission millions of miles from Earth. Another aspect that stood out for me was the book’s beautiful take on loss: “If her dad were right, people who died were just thoughts traveling like light, continuing.” It’s a wonderful thought to think that when we’re gone all the atoms we’re made of never really go anywhere, they just change shape and continue out there in the cosmos. It’s dazzlingly comforting. Final Thoughts It’s been hard to summarize how much I enjoyed reading Light from Other Stars and all the emotions it evoked within me. For a novel that is mainly science fiction, it is also a compelling exploration of the emotional messiness that is family. Erika Swyler expertly weaved together several genres to leave us with a truly unique and powerful tale of survival, love, and science. I can honestly say without hesitation that it will be a book that will stay with me for quite awhile. ** On a side note, when I was very young we briefly lived on the Florida coast and my earliest memory is watching a space shuttle launch in person with my parents. I didn’t find this out until I was older but it was the first space shuttle launch since Challenger, which I suppose explains why we were three among thousands there that day. Seeing the magnificence of a shuttle launching into the greatest of frontiers pretty much cinched it for me- I instantly became a lifelong space nerd. Read my full review here! Light From Other Stars by Erika Swyler- A Little Nerd Told Me Thank you to the publishers and Netgalley for a copy of this in exchange for a review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tish

    “The wonder,” he said at last. “Any pain in my side, any blindness, even dying-they’re nothing when it comes to the wonder.” Ooh! I loved this book! So as you all know well by now, I like to go into books blind. I want the one sentence elevator pitch and that’s it. I went into Light From Other Stars with almost zero information regarding it’s plot. I saw “NASA” jump out on the jacket, said “Okay”, and stuck it in my bag. At page 60 I still had absolutely no idea what this book was sup “The wonder,” he said at last. “Any pain in my side, any blindness, even dying-they’re nothing when it comes to the wonder.” Ooh! I loved this book! So as you all know well by now, I like to go into books blind. I want the one sentence elevator pitch and that’s it. I went into Light From Other Stars with almost zero information regarding it’s plot. I saw “NASA” jump out on the jacket, said “Okay”, and stuck it in my bag. At page 60 I still had absolutely no idea what this book was supposed to be about or where it was going. The Challenger exploded, Nedda’s mother, Betheen, was trying to make a water cake, and a couple of squirrley things happen that make you wonder what is going on (the question/itch), but what is this ABOUT? Nothing was actually happening to the characters, nor are they trying to do anything. So very, very putdownable in the beginning. But when it gets going, it really gets going. This story is told in dual timelines, Nedda in 1986 and Nedda in the future on an intergalactic mission to settle another planet. The story picks up on page 70 when an anomalous event happens in Nedra’s hometown of Easter, Florida. In the future, aboard the Chawla, the crew is dealing with failing eyesight due to weightlessness in space, and something about the wrong isotope being used (pretty important to have power) will affect them all arriving to their destination alive so it must be fixed, and fixed before they all go blind. High stakes, folks. Nedda’s space travels is where this book really shines.I loved the camaraderie of the crew on Chawla. It was by far my favorite part of the novel. Most books show the crew tearing each other apart or at least just plain sick of each other during intergalactic travel, but this crew is literally one. I would’ve loved an entire novel of their trip. We spent more time in Easter, Fl, but I wish we could’ve seen more of what happened to the town and the impact of the anomaly on the rest of the world. I think that was a huge missed opportunity. It’s touched on, but just lightly. It’s a short book, so a few more chapters would’ve made all the difference. Despite the slow start, I still recommend whether you like science fiction or not. The superlative themes would be enjoyed by anyone.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Robert Blumenthal

    This is definitely a novel of science fiction, though it is very thoughtful and very well written. It deals mostly with the field of physics, astrophysics to be more specific. It centers around the concept of the fluidity of time, which enters the realm of quantum mechanics, which is a field that is becoming more and more accepted but is still little understood. The author uses these concepts to create a touching and exciting family drama. Nedda is 11-years-old, living near the Kenned This is definitely a novel of science fiction, though it is very thoughtful and very well written. It deals mostly with the field of physics, astrophysics to be more specific. It centers around the concept of the fluidity of time, which enters the realm of quantum mechanics, which is a field that is becoming more and more accepted but is still little understood. The author uses these concepts to create a touching and exciting family drama. Nedda is 11-years-old, living near the Kennedy Space Center, when the Challenger Space Shuttle explodes killing all seven people aboard. This is the springboard for this narrative, melding into an invention of her father's that can alter time. Unusual things start occurring in their town, and Nedda and her mother seem to be the only ones who can fix it. Along with this thread, years in the future Nedda is part of a quartet on their way to another planet to attempt to colonize it because the Earth is becoming unlivable. The threads connect in a rather touching manner, and, though there is some confusion along the way, everything is pretty much explained in the end. Science fiction is not my number one genre, though I do like it when it is intelligently done (Arrival, e.g., was one of my favorite movies from a couple of years ago). I was a bit frustrated at times because of the altered reality, for I had a hard time realizing what actually was occurring. As I sorted it out, I found the story to be quite compelling and well-plotted. And the last 30 or so pages became quite touching. It dealt with some lovely concepts.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jeri Paull

    Man, this was hard to pick a star rating for. It was an uneven read for me; started out fairly slow, then built to a five star that I couldn't wait to get back to, then some really long mathematical scientific discussions brought it down to a three, and then it ramped back up to a five, so I settled on a four. I loved the core families - I wish we could have spent more time with them and less time with the logistics of how everything worked. I also think more time could have been spent on the ga Man, this was hard to pick a star rating for. It was an uneven read for me; started out fairly slow, then built to a five star that I couldn't wait to get back to, then some really long mathematical scientific discussions brought it down to a three, and then it ramped back up to a five, so I settled on a four. I loved the core families - I wish we could have spent more time with them and less time with the logistics of how everything worked. I also think more time could have been spent on the gap (trying to be vague and non spoilery here); the premise was so very intriguing. Recommended with caution - be prepared to feel like you're back in college during the scientific discussions, and thinking of the beer that has your name on it :)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Chris Blocker

    Sometimes you go into a story with a certain expectation. I approached Light from Other Stars this way. Somewhere I'd gotten the impression that this was novel was going be the mind-bending what-the-hell-just-happened I found in James Renner's The Man from Primrose Lane (if you want your mind blown, read that novel.) Light from Other Stars isn't what I expected, but it's still intriguing, intelligent, and sometimes a little fun. Light from Other Stars takes place largely in Florida in the days after the space/>Light Sometimes you go into a story with a certain expectation. I approached Light from Other Stars this way. Somewhere I'd gotten the impression that this was novel was going be the mind-bending what-the-hell-just-happened I found in James Renner's The Man from Primrose Lane (if you want your mind blown, read that novel.) Light from Other Stars isn't what I expected, but it's still intriguing, intelligent, and sometimes a little fun. Light from Other Stars takes place largely in Florida in the days after the space shuttle Challenger explosion. Eleven-year-old Nedda's father is a scientist working on an entropy experiment at the time of the accident. Enter science. Science was never one of my stronger subjects in school, so consider my ignorance when I say that for me this was big-s Science fiction. The narrative occasionally switches to a space craft in the future, but I'll just leave that part a mystery. Even though Light from Other Stars is heavy on the science, it's also a very effective in showing the human condition. Love, grief, birth, mortality, individuality, and family are all explored in quite some depth. The characters and the plot both show expert craftsmanship, but they probably do get a bit lost in the technical jargon. That said, Swyler is not an author who talks down to her readers. The explanations for the more scientific elements of the story are done in a largely organic way. The one thing that I think would've made this book stand out more is if the big reveal (don't worry, no spoilers here) had been less obvious earlier in the novel. Now we're dipping into questions of Authorial Intention versus Reader's Interpretation. Perhaps Swyler was not seeking a big reveal. Maybe she wanted it to be obvious from page one. That's a possibility, but she also never comes right out and says it, so it gives the impression that she's trying to hide something. This results in high expectations for what will be a letdown for many. Light from Other Stars is certainly one of the more imaginative Literary novels I've read in recent times. I would've gladly embraced some more surprise in these pages, but the exploration of time and the human heart made for an excellent journey.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Megan Bell

    Nedda Papas is eleven and space-obsessed in Easter, Florida, when Challenger explodes in the sky overhead, sending shockwaves through the small NASA-adjacent town. Nedda’s father, a scientist grieving the death of his infant son, the passing of his daughter’s youth, and the degeneration of his hands, has been conducting fragile and dangerous experiments, sent over the edge and altering the fabric of time in wondrous and tragic ways after Challenger’s demise. Years later, Nedda has achieved her d Nedda Papas is eleven and space-obsessed in Easter, Florida, when Challenger explodes in the sky overhead, sending shockwaves through the small NASA-adjacent town. Nedda’s father, a scientist grieving the death of his infant son, the passing of his daughter’s youth, and the degeneration of his hands, has been conducting fragile and dangerous experiments, sent over the edge and altering the fabric of time in wondrous and tragic ways after Challenger’s demise. Years later, Nedda has achieved her dream of spaceflight, hurtling toward a distant planet when a dire malfunction causes her to reckon with her past in order to preserve the possibility for a future. Light from Other Stars is a thrilling journey through space and time and a deeply moving exploration of the bond between parent and child. Thank you to Bloomsbury for the ARC!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    This book was crackers bananas. Nothing I expected to happen, happened. If you like a book that surprises you, this is it. Erika Swyler is skilled at unraveling secrets in a way that doesn't make you hate the characters. I feel like that's a talent, because in some stories, any person who carries a secret is not seen as such a nuanced person. In Light from Other Stars, we are split between two moments in Nedda's life - her childhood and her adulthood. In her childhood, she is in Florida with her This book was crackers bananas. Nothing I expected to happen, happened. If you like a book that surprises you, this is it. Erika Swyler is skilled at unraveling secrets in a way that doesn't make you hate the characters. I feel like that's a talent, because in some stories, any person who carries a secret is not seen as such a nuanced person. In Light from Other Stars, we are split between two moments in Nedda's life - her childhood and her adulthood. In her childhood, she is in Florida with her parents and we follow her post watching the Challenger explode. In her adulthood, she is aboard a spaceship, and we watch as she supports her team through the many challenges that unveil themselves through out the book. Going into this, the element of sci-fi seemed to only be space related, but it turns out, time is what truly affects the characters. I loved this book. Sci-fi is my preferred genre and anyone who likes it will enjoy this. I will write a more extensive review as we draw closer to the publication date. Thanks to Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for the advanced copy of Light From Other Stars in exchange for an honest review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ericka Clouther

    This is such a beautiful and at times subtle book. It's literary science fiction, ala Le Guin. It's the love story between parents and children, and between childhood friends, and about the closest adult friends. It's a story about a fully independent woman and why she's so independent, and how her life is full of everything that matters. And it's about time, and how the real physics of time is so magical-seeming, and how our time in an important relationship is just a touch between two people's This is such a beautiful and at times subtle book. It's literary science fiction, ala Le Guin. It's the love story between parents and children, and between childhood friends, and about the closest adult friends. It's a story about a fully independent woman and why she's so independent, and how her life is full of everything that matters. And it's about time, and how the real physics of time is so magical-seeming, and how our time in an important relationship is just a touch between two people's very separate time on earth. It's about how our era defines and intimately impact us. It's also about a love of science in general, which I definitely share. Also, as someone who lost my father whom I had a very close relationship with, I could relate so much to the grief, and I could relate also to the beauty in that grief. Swyler conveyed that in such an evocative way. A gorgeous book overall.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nicole R

    This book started fairly slow. It took a bit to hit its stride and for me to figure out at least a bit of what was going on. But, by about one-third of the way through, I was completely hooked and have listened to it nonstop for the last two days. I closed the book with tears in my eyes and a dull ache in my chest. It is likely to make my Top 10 for the year. I don't even know how to describe this book without giving anything away! I guess a small teaser would be something like this: This book started fairly slow. It took a bit to hit its stride and for me to figure out at least a bit of what was going on. But, by about one-third of the way through, I was completely hooked and have listened to it nonstop for the last two days. I closed the book with tears in my eyes and a dull ache in my chest. It is likely to make my Top 10 for the year. I don't even know how to describe this book without giving anything away! I guess a small teaser would be something like this: Nedda is 11 years old, living in Easter, Florida. She is obsessed with space and space travel, and is shocked and devastated when she witnesses Challenger explode mere seconds after launch. But, that is perhaps the least important thing that happens that day in 1986 as time begins to behave oddly in her town, impacting the people she loves most. Flash forward to Nedda as an adult and she has achieved her goal of being an astronaut. Hurling through space with three other people, off to establish a colony on another planet. These two stories weave together. At first, I had no idea how they connected other than through Nedda. I wasn't sure of when we were in time or how Nedda got to where she was. I wasn't sure what exactly was going on in the 1986 timeline either, there were a lot of details about science-y things that I didn't think were very well done or really necessary, and this caused the first bit of the book to drag. I was just confused. But then it clicked together and I couldn't stop reading. The 1986 storyline was my favorite, but by the end I also loved the future timeline as well. The best part was the characters. I felt like each of them was alive and could see them perfectly. I felt what they felt. I would not recommend this book to just anyone, it is probably not one that will have blanket appeal, but for those of you who do take the plunge, you will be rewarded with a wonderfully written, engaging, and emotional story. Also, maybe I was just slow on the uptake, but I did not realize until right before it was officially revealed that (view spoiler)[ the entire town of Easter had stopped in time while the rest of the world sped forward! (hide spoiler)] In hindsight, I see the clues, but the author wove that little mystery in wonderfully.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lolly K Dandeneau

    via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/ 'She’d adapted to homesickness before and viewing the Earth from above didn’t move her. Her home wasn’t a distance; it was time and a sparrow.' When I was in elementary school, living on the Space Coast in Melbourne, we students were marched out single file vibrating with excitement to watch the space shuttle launch of the Challenger. In fact, my father worked as an Engineer with EG&G and other family members worked out on the cape too, so it was always a big deal via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/ 'She’d adapted to homesickness before and viewing the Earth from above didn’t move her. Her home wasn’t a distance; it was time and a sparrow.' When I was in elementary school, living on the Space Coast in Melbourne, we students were marched out single file vibrating with excitement to watch the space shuttle launch of the Challenger. In fact, my father worked as an Engineer with EG&G and other family members worked out on the cape too, so it was always a big deal for us. I was lucky enough to see the first space shuttle launch in 1981, close up and amazing. On January 28th, 1986 despite being a beautiful day with a clear blue sky, there wasn’t a reason for me to think anything could go wrong. We children witnessed in horror as the Challenger exploded. Naturally younger children didn’t fully grasp what occurred, but we older students listened via the intercom system in the cafeteria about the tragedy we had just watch unfold live, above our heads. In 1986, Nedda Papas yearns to be an astronaut, and is crushed that Judy Resnik, much admired by young Nedda as Resnik was a biomedical engineer, electrical engineer, software engineer, pilot and astronaut, dies aboard the Challenger. “We didn’t really see it. Maybe just like an echo of it.” Nedda’s scientific mind is on overdrive, following the tragedy, thinking about light years. Coping with the loss she spends time with her father Theo, obsessed with his work on The Crucible in the town of Easter after his layoff from NASA. The Crucible, we learn, is a machine that is meant to ‘speed and slow down entropy’, that can ‘arrange energy’, play with time. Her mother Betheen may spend her time baking unique recipes, but she gave up her life as a chemist to be a mother. “Theo had left her the kitchen, Betheen had let him have the basement.” She knows what the real purpose of the machine is… to stop loss. When a horrible accident occurs after Nedda and her friend Denny enter the orange grove, her father attempts to fix it, but it is her mother who she must turn to if there is any hope to make things right. The mother whose miscarriages in the past made bonding with Nedda hard in the first month of her life. Though she resembles her mother, it is Theo Nedda has always connected with, unaware of how bright her mother truly is. She is stunned to learn of her mother’s academic life, this mother who bakes. Through her Water cake, Betheen is able to explain the state Denny and her father are now trapped in. The machine isn’t just about loss, but preserving life for Nedda, but there are things she never knew that are now being revealed, such as the existence of a brother named Michael. The story flows between past and present. Nedda is all grown, now living and working aboard Chawla, the reality of her girlhood dream come to fruition, she carries the chaos of that one incident like a weight, knowing only that ‘they couldn’t predict the variety of outcomes’. Predicting outcomes is the same in the future as the past. A ship with gravity… that’s what would have been ideal! Everything is going wrong, and she is still haunted by the past. The crew has sacrificed their futures to help future generations, even if it means their own deaths, on an unfamiliar planet or on a ship… There will be vision loss, things they knew were high risk, scant communication with those back on earth. It’s all for the greater good though. I actually enjoyed the journey into the past and the dramatic moments of the Crucible, everything that happened before and after. It’s a heartbreaking novel that is about more than science, space, it is about loved ones and the instability of time, place. Dislocation of the soul. I also fancied reading about the areas I’ve grown up in and have returned to. Yes, read it. Publication Date: May 7, 2019 Bloomsbury USA

  30. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Law

    I knew nothing about this book when I started it other then the rather interesting description provided by the publisher on Netgalley. Light from Other Stars surperised me to put it mildly. It, is a slow burn that turns into a wild ride but you certainly need to be patient to get to the good stuff. I almost DNFd this book because at first it was so confusing, so disjointed I just could not get into it. However, it is worth the build. In retrospect I believe the format is entirely intentional and I knew nothing about this book when I started it other then the rather interesting description provided by the publisher on Netgalley. Light from Other Stars surperised me to put it mildly. It, is a slow burn that turns into a wild ride but you certainly need to be patient to get to the good stuff. I almost DNFd this book because at first it was so confusing, so disjointed I just could not get into it. However, it is worth the build. In retrospect I believe the format is entirely intentional and completely makes sense towards the latter half of the story. Nedda is a young girl living in small town Florida in the late 80’s who dreams of being an astronaut. She has grown up with two brilliant scientist parents who are fractured from personal tragedy. Her father, a former NASA employee, has put all his waking energy into developing a project that changes time as we know it. This project, his madness is his way of trying to put purpose and meaning into the loss of a child. At school Nedda witnesses, live on television, the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster with the other students , her best friend Denny among them. Challenger’s catastrophe and the loss of life changes Nedda and only increases her desire to be a part of the space program. Fast foward to the future and Nedda is in fact an astronaut. We are given fragments of an adult Nedda working with a crew in space throughout the story in alternating chapters Back in the 80’s Another catastrophic event happens changing the very fabric of time for 11 yr old Nedda, all those she loves and her entire home town. These events spawned by her father’s work are both shockingly tragic, and fundamental in the survival of mankind in the universe. Light from Other Stars is a timely read in the current wake of our world issues involvng Climate change, overpopulation and environmental disasters. This book opens your mind up to possibilities and consequences of human action on earth today. Its a wonderfully inventive stretch of the imagination that doesn’t really seem like such a stretch but rather a very real possibility. A read that I highly recommend to anyone.

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