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Axiom's end : a novel by Lindsay Ellis
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Axiom's end : a novel (edition 2020)

by Lindsay Ellis

Series: Noumena (1)

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1377146,707 (3.89)1
Member:wpwhite
Title:Axiom's end : a novel
Authors:Lindsay Ellis
Info:New York : St. Martin's Press, 2020.
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****1/2
Tags:fiction, science fiction

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Axiom's End: A Novel by Lindsay Ellis

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So it’s hard to write a review of this book without being biased. I’ve been watching her since she was a pig-tailed nostalgia chucker and stayed following through Disney film criticism, Transformers film theory, obsession with musicals, and Hugo nominations. She doesn’t release material often, but she’s never disappointed. So as I read it, I tried to be objective in my evaluation–if you’d never heard of Lindsay Ellis, what would you think of this book?

Ellis has described Axiom’s End as “Stranger Things” meets “Arrival” (the good one with Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, not “The Arrival“). Personally, I think it’s more like “E.T.” meets “Independence Day” with an infusion of “Beauty and the Beast”/”Phantom of the Opera”-style plot (you know, those stories where an emotionally unavailable anti-villain and a warm-hearted girl fall in love even though it’s wrong and would never work). The external story is about xenophobia and protecting a group of refugee aliens from bounty hunters with technology way beyond our own. The internal story is about the relationship between the main woman and her alien companion.

The beginning is good at “show, don’t tell” and that’s tough for a beginning, because you want to get backstory out there without being infodumpy, but you’ve got to do it expediently or the plot can’t start. Then it gets complex. Way more complex than I expected from someone whose most popular video is about Disney’s Aladdin. (but I guess this went through 26 drafts, so it makes sense. In software development, we call that “feature creep”.) Good, hard science about time dilation, political machinations, and Dyson spheres. One of the major motifs in the book is language (par for the course when dealing with aliens), and that gets tricky when you’re trying to remember who’s who in the alien world–what is a “similar”? Is Esperas a name or a term? How is Cefo related to everyone again?

And here’s what I didn’t expect: it’s a love story that’s not a romance. Like a “hurt/comfort” fic? For all those “comp titles” I mentioned before, the real root of the plot is basically 2007’s “Transformers” by way of Carl Sagan or Isaac Asimov. An aimless young adult makes contact with an alien soldier from a space war galaxies away. And that war’s coming to Earth. It’s evocative of a fan fiction that got blessed by the blue fairy and turned into a real boy for being so good.

A lot of the reviews describe it as “fun”, but I don’t know if I’d call it that. The complexity turned me off, because that reeks of hard science fiction, which I’m not a fan of (too much research, not enough characters). But I would like to see the sequel, because I want to see where the girl and the alien’s relationship goes. ( )
  theWallflower | Sep 18, 2020 |
Like Arrival, but with violence and a love story! ( )
  joelmeador | Sep 6, 2020 |
Lindsay Ellis’s Axiom’s End examines the impact of first contact with an alien race, in this case the biosynthetic race dubbed Pequods by a group within the Department of Health and Human Services to whom the aliens appear to seek asylum. The novel takes place in 2007, some time after the initial group of aliens have come to earth and when two more incidents occur that appear connected. Nils Ortega, a Julian Assange-type, leaks documents related to the government cover-up of the aliens’ existence. His estranged daughter Cora is just trying to get through life without anyone realizing she’s related to the famous conspiracy theorist, but finds herself drawn into events that will forever change humanity.

Ellis uses the novel and the setting toward the end of George W. Bush’s presidency to comment on contemporary events without binding herself to what’s happening now. The internet and political culture of 2007 offer a small-scale version of current events that works effectively as a backdrop for social commentary while Ellis’s examination of a truly alien culture helps to break the mold of most mainstream science fiction. In this way, her examination of conspiracy theories and how they propagate is particularly timely for 2020 (pg. 225). Further, in portraying Cora as an average person, her famous father notwithstanding, she can address detailed science-fiction concepts in a way that’s understandable without getting too bogged down in the technical jargon. For example, the title refers to how learning of a totally alien advanced intelligence alters a society while also addressing the Fermi Paradox (pg. 257). Moreover, the novel itself has plenty of Easter eggs for Ellis’s fans, such as a reference to one of her video essay series, itself inspired by Michael Bay’s films, where Ellis works in the lines “…the whole plate. The whole plate” (pg. 131). The acknowledgments also mention Ronald Reagan, whose deregulation of television programming made possible the Transformers series, of which Ellis is a fan and to which the reader will notice some allusions.

The best science-fiction uses the genre as social commentary and Ellis’s debut novel does just that. The story is interesting, the characters relatable, the concepts thought-provoking, and her analysis of the political climate of 2007 all-too-relevant in 2020. ( )
  DarthDeverell | Jul 29, 2020 |
I adore a good Sci-Fi book and I was not disappointed with Axiom’s End by Lindsay Ellis. It is a look at what first contact with an alien race might be like. It was an entertaining, fascinating read and it made me stop and think about how first contact might really go. A total pleasure to read and I am already looking forward to the next book in the series.
Caro Sabino is a young college dropout. She is just trying to find her footing in the real world. Her estranged father is the CEO of the equivalent of WikiLeaks and he has just released the leak of a lifetime. The evidence he presents purports that the US government has made first contact with an alien race. However, the facts suggests they have not been able to communicate with them. That is until Caro unwittingly steps into the picture.
The story was outstanding. It is creative, well thought through and has a great cast of characters with just enough suspense and twists to keep you engaged. The plot moved quickly and I was engaged throughout the entire book. However, the relationship between Ampersand and Caro is what really made me enjoy this so much. The connection and eventually trust that developed between the two was well done and I loved the path it took in the book.
I also liked how the author handles the government cover ups. It explored some interesting ideas and made me think about the lengths government will go to keep people in the dark. Also the reoccurring theme of truth being a human right brings up whole host of ideas on that topic. In short, besides being a good story (which it is) it raises some interesting questions about morality, compassion and what it means to be human.
This is a great book for those true lovers of the Science Fiction genre. I would like to be able to recommend it to others but I doubt, for example, a person who is a Historical Fiction fan would like it. Yet, for you Sci-Fi people like me, you have to read this one!
I received an ARC, from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review. For more of my reviews, and author interviews, see my blog at www.thespineview.com ( )
  purpledog | Jul 23, 2020 |
Axiom’s End is the story of humanity’s first contact with alien life. The first thing that makes this a completely fresh story is that it has already happened. The story begins in 2007 with Cora Sabino, a twenty-something who is living with her mother, two younger siblings, and two dogs she adores. They all have taken their mother’s last name because their father is an infamous hacktivist who fled abroad after posting a memo revealing that aliens are here. The entire family knows they are under scrutiny and Cora wants nothing to do with it.

However, it’s not just the FBI and the CIA that seem to be looking at the Sabinos as she thinks she spotted an alien while looking for her dog. Things move quickly and while her family is taken into custody, she becomes the only human to communicate with the alien who is named Ampersand. The rest you will have to read for yourself

I do not know Lindsay Ellis or any YouTube star. I am just not a YouTube person and after seeing what YouTube did to Alice Walker’s brain, I am staying away. So I did not have any predisposition to like this book. I am happy, though, to say I really loved it. I love that the aliens are so different, in ways we don’t quite understand. It is refreshing to see not only a different biology but also a different ethos, social structure, and imagination. The way different Fremdans play different roles for example. This is exciting stuff.

The story is fast-paced and internally consistent. The story is told through Cora’s experience and it fitted that the language was the kind of language a 20-something drop out would use. I think Lindsay Ellis ticked the boxes for the first in what promises to be a great series.

I received an ARC of Axiom’s End from the publisher through Shelf Awareness.

Axiom’s End at St. Martin’s Press | Macmillan
Lindsay Ellis on YouTube

https://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpress.com/2020/07/22/9781250256737/
  Tonstant.Weader | Jul 23, 2020 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ellis, Lindsayprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Thorn, OliverNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Willis, StephanieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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