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3.39  ·  Rating Details ·  191 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
This psychologically complex science-fiction novel focuses on a sensitive adolescent making the difficult transition from childhood into adolescent sexuality and adult society. A boy, fleeing a bullying classmate, inadvertently makes first contact with a race of aliens who live beneath the surface of his planet. Exploring such subjects as the dynamics of dysfunctional fami ...more
Paperback, 171 pages
Published September 15th 2006 by Tachyon Publications
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Kevin Fanning
Aug 23, 2016 Kevin Fanning rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Ummm. What a unique and weird and fun book. I really liked it, it was just a little too short, ending just when it was about to really get going. I would definitely read a sequel.

What else. There's a scene where the boy meets some aliens inside a cave and they (view spoiler). Which is, like, OK!!!! But then he brings his MOM to the cave and then they (view spoiler)
Mar 26, 2008 Heidi rated it liked it
Nina Kiriki Hoffman is one of my favorite authors. If you like Octavia Butler or Ursula LeGuin, Hoffman will be an author for you.

This book was categorized as SF, rather than Young Adult at my library, most likely because of the erotic scenes. This would be one of those secret word-of-mouth books that I'm sure that scifi/fantasy teen readers will hope to stumble across for that very reason.
You get a hint of the sexy stuff to come within the second page: "She looked like his ideal woman, but he
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 Althea Ann rated it it was ok
A very short book.
This book reminded me in many ways of many kids/YA books I've read about young people making first contact with an alien species. (Andre Norton's, for example). A young teenager on a colony world, fleeing a bully, stumbles into a cave and finds an alien "city." Issues with the bully get resolved, the adults get called in, and positive aspects should come out of this for all.
The radical elements here are that the colony world in question is really a criminal world, bootlegging i
Eva Folsom
Feb 11, 2010 Eva Folsom rated it it was ok
I wish there was a way to distinguish in the rating between "meh" and "I loved part so much and hated part so much." This one was definitely the second type of two stars.

It reads like a completely awesome beginning of a novel, with a horrible ending tacked on too soon. Like the author got frightened of the mess she had created for her characters and slapped on a deus ex machina.

Like the other book of hers I've read, I was totally impressed with the worldbuilding and the themes she addressed, an
Apr 11, 2012 Genevieve rated it really liked it
A creative story, and a nice foray into science fiction for Hoffman; I enjoyed the world she created, both the aliens and the humans. It did have a bit of a feeling of a short story, leaving many questions unanswered and with no real resolution. As always with her tales, a character initially setup to be an antagonist is redeemed, rather quickly in this case. This may be puzzling to those not used to Hoffman's writing style.
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Mar 11, 2017 Rachel (Kalanadi) rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
Uncomfortably perplexing, rushed pacing, and cringe-y sexual/sensual moments with non-consensual overtones (with teens). So. No. Very alien aliens right up to the predictable moment when (view spoiler).
Nicholas Whyte[return][return]Kaslin, the adolescent hero growing up on a recently colonised planet, falls into a cave while escaping the torments of the rich girl who he fancies, and discovers a hitherto unknown indigenous alien lifeform, a hive mind that communicates through sex and food. This could have been a great novel of sexual and political awakening, as Kaslin gets to grips with the alien being and the girl in the first case, and her ...more
A bit weird.
OK, read in all one sitting and I liked the 'world' created for this story, but I can understand the reason this book isn't found in too many public libraries. Waaaaay too much emphasis on the teen's masturbatory (by the aliens) and sexual encounters (with another teen). It's not handled in a 'porn' way, but I just found it detracted from the overall book.
I would have preferred more backstory on some of the other characters, or on the setup at the colony - his father at one point b
Travis Mueller
May 13, 2014 Travis Mueller rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 02, 2010 Cindywho rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy-sf
This is one of the oddest, kinkiest YA SF books I've read in a while. In her other fantasy novels, Hoffman has often touched upon the theme of people with too much power over others and how they abuse that power. Teenaged Kaslin has been at the whim of his parents, a bully, and now the aliens he found in a cave on the human-colonized planet where he lives. His relationship with the bully becomes disturbingly romantic (though it mirrors the plight of many female characters in romance novels) and ...more
Feb 08, 2010 Nick rated it really liked it
I had a few quibbles with the social structure described in the book, which seemed very unstable, but my real complaint is the abrupt ending of the book! I wanted the story to continue, and to find out what happened next. To me, that is one sign of a good book.
The alien contact was fascinatingly strange, and the portrayal of a truly incomprehensible advanced alien culture was very interesting. But then, it just stops!
Oct 20, 2008 Susan rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club, hc-sc, 2006
While I love all of Nina Kiriki Hoffman, this is the only book by her I have definatly NOT recommended to my niece Tyler. My sister Mary'd kill me for the rather strange eroticism of the book.

I have all Nina's books but goodreads won't let me add Courting Disasters, Unmasking, Legacy of Fire or Common Threads.

The story "Housewife" has more sex and eroticism; it's about the only story or book by her that makes me squirm with discomfort.

Nov 15, 2010 Corinne rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erika Worley
Oct 01, 2015 Erika Worley rated it it was amazing
This is a good example of a book that doesn't go exactly how you would expect it to, which is realistic. The main character is not what I would call a hero, but I enjoy learning about him as the random person who stumbles into the role of protagonist. His emotions and the manipulation of them by other characters is believable, and sometimes a little sad, and captures a less than rock solid teenager.
Jul 09, 2014 Sarahz rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, science-fiction
Normally I'm a fan of Nina Kiriki Hoffman, but this one didn't click for me. Some of the ideas were interesting, in terms of the world she created, but I couldn't stand Histly, and Kaslin is way too passive for most of the book. The whole time, things are just happening to him, and it just didn't make for an engaging read for me. Also, the sexual material in this book was just...odd. The pieces of this book just didn't fit together into a cohesive whole for me.
Kae Cheatham
Feb 03, 2011 Kae Cheatham rated it liked it
Shelves: spec-fiction
Earth-based humans in a future earth-dominated galaxy. Good emotional depiction of main character, as he makes first contact with subterranean aliens of extraordinary ability. The family life of him and his friend (adversary?) tells a lot about the developments of human culture.

Interesting read, but not going onto my "favorites" list.
Sep 17, 2012 Katie rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
I read two Nina Kiriki Hoffman books this weekend and I am still like, why have I never read any of this woman's stuff? Holy crap, can she write. This novel was short, sweet, emotionally resonant, and mature. Also, I need to find out if there is a sequel, because I would like more. So much more.
Dec 17, 2008 Trip rated it really liked it
This is a very atypical book for Nina Kiriki Hoffman, being definitely science fiction, but still good. In fact, I wish she'd write more like this.

Also: surprisingly hot teenage BDSM sex.
Miss Ginny Tea
Nov 29, 2008 Miss Ginny Tea rated it liked it
Recommended to Miss Ginny Tea by: feminist SF
Such a good start--bizarre, original. It messed with gender roles and consent. Then it just lost steam, fell flat. I'm all for an open ending, but this was a letdown. Still, the start was interesting and entertaining enough to warrant three stars.
Mar 23, 2009 Noel rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in anthropology and kinky alien sex
One of the most original and fascinating sci-fi novels I've read in ages. A quick read, mostly because it was so weird and inventive I couldn't put it down.
Caroline Ingvaldsen
Jul 25, 2015 Caroline Ingvaldsen rated it really liked it
More novella than novel, an intriguing coming of age/First Contact story set in a plausible future discouragingly dominated by technology and greed.
Tanita S.
Jun 06, 2007 Tanita S. rated it really liked it
The only reason I didn't rate it more highly is because I was annoyed at how it ended!
Oct 06, 2009 scarlettraces rated it it was ok
i love Nina Kiriki Hoffman, but this was really bad.
Karl Styrsky
Oct 06, 2012 Karl Styrsky rated it it was ok
Author has a great imagination, but just not my cup of sci-fi tea. Glad it was a short read.
Mar 21, 2012 Jared rated it really liked it
Alien sex poetry. That about sums it up.
Jul 28, 2009 Lobeck rated it it was ok
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
A little entertaining and a little interesting. The main character is too passive, and others are unlikable.
Jul 10, 2010 Heide rated it liked it
This was kinda a sex with aliens book. Which ok if there's something else there that's fine but really the rest wasn't interesting either.
Liobhan rated it it was amazing
Mar 11, 2010
Stephanie rated it liked it
Aug 02, 2007
Kerry Clark
Kerry Clark rated it it was amazing
Oct 21, 2014
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Nina Kiriki Hoffman’s first solo novel, The Thread That Binds the Bones (1993), won the Bram Stoker Award for first novel; her second novel, The Silent Strength of Stones (1995) was a finalist for the Nebula and World Fantasy Awards. A Red Heart of Memories (1999, part of her “Matt Black” series), nominated for a World Fantasy Award, was followed by sequel Past the Size of Dreaming in 2001. Much o ...more
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