Edward's Reviews > Steal Across the Sky

Steal Across the Sky by Nancy Kress
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's review
Jan 08, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: sf
Read in August, 2010

Ever wonder if our primitive ancestors were more adept spiritually? More aware of the afterlife? In contact with the dead? If so, did civilization remove this awareness....or was it stolen by aliens?

“Stolen by aliens” is something I'd have never thought of but Nancy Kress did and wrote about it in Steal Across the Sky. She even added a kicker about the aliens returning to tell us and make amends.

>>>>> warning, minor spoilers follow <<<<<
They don’t come right out and tell us, although the mere presence of aliens and their confirmation of an afterlife would convince most of us. No, they make a drama out of it by selecting Witnesses who they take to experience the results of their genetic manipulation experiments. The aliens never reveal themselves or explain what they did, they just take teams of Witnesses to the experimental worlds and drop them off. I really liked this part of the book and wanted to learn how all the teams fared on all the worlds. I’d have enjoyed reading about other kinds of experiments on other worlds too.

The Witnesses are returned to Earth and the book relates their problems coping with their experiences and people’s expectations. I didn’t like this part of the book. The Witnesses could have been coping with an earthly sort of problem not a mind boggling extra-terrestrial one.

It gets worse. The last part of the book is a police drama, a spy movie, and a legal novel jumbled together. The aliens are trying to secretly “replant” what they stole while stopping a minor effort of our own to repair the damage. The alien’s penchant for secrecy and drama leads to a scene of gangster-style violence. Our own effort to repair the damage ends up as a property law decision in the Judicial system. Dumb aliens, dumb humans ...or... very alien aliens, very human humans.

The book ends without ever telling us why the aliens committed the theft in the first place.

+5 stars for the first part
-1 stars for the second part
-2 stars for the third part
+1 stars because I heard the authors husband had recently died, putting the whole thing into a new perspective and lending it an aspect of immediacy

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