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Catalyst

3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  154 ratings  ·  24 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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Heidi
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
...more
Eva Folsom
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
...more
Genevieve
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.
Travis Mueller
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Althea Ann
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
...more
Nicholas Whyte
http://www.strangehorizons.com/reviews/2007/04/the_2007_philip.shtml[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
Sarahz
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.
Carolyn
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
...more
Cindy
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
Cindywho
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
Corinne
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susan
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.

Susan
Nick
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!
Kae Cheatham
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.
Katie
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.
Miss Ginny Tea
Dec 18, 2008 Miss Ginny Tea rated it 3 of 5 stars
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.
Trip
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.
Noel
Mar 24, 2009 Noel rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.
Heide
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.
Lobeck
A little entertaining and a little interesting. The main character is too passive, and others are unlikable.
Karl Styrsky
Author has a great imagination, but just not my cup of sci-fi tea. Glad it was a short read.
Tanita S.
The only reason I didn't rate it more highly is because I was annoyed at how it ended!
scarlettraces
i love Nina Kiriki Hoffman, but this was really bad.
Jared
Alien sex poetry. That about sums it up.
Eleni Nota
Eleni Nota marked it as to-read
Nov 27, 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
More about Nina Kiriki Hoffman...
A Fistful of Sky  (LaZelle, #1) The Thread That Binds the Bones (Chapel Hollow #1) A Stir of Bones (Red Heart of Memories, # 0.5) A Red Heart of Memories (Red Heart of Memories, #1) Spirits That Walk in Shadow (Chapel Hollow, #3)

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