Axiom's End: A Novel (Hardcover)
This read was both enjoyable and challenging. There are a number of philosophical and ethical questions raised to which neither the book nor the characters claim to have answers. Is truth a human right? How does trauma isolate us from each other? Is it possible to overcome our differences when cultures disagree on morality?
It took me a while to connect with the protagonist, but she did grow on me as her life took on more purpose. I appreciate the complexity of the characters' relationships with one another, which are at the forefront of most of the novel. There aren't really "bad guys" and "good guys", just people working toward various goals which sometimes conflict. Perhaps weirdly, I feel most connected to the aliens - their scenes are the most compelling, original, and impactful. Everything from their physical forms to what information we're able to learn about their society is fascinating. Plus, Ampersand is a delight; he really carries the novel.— Kaley
The alternate history first contact adventure Axiom's End is an extraordinary debut from Hugo finalist and video essayist Lindsay Ellis.
Truth is a human right.
It’s fall 2007. A well-timed leak has revealed that the US government might have engaged in first contact. Cora Sabino is doing everything she can to avoid the whole mess, since the force driving the controversy is her whistleblower father. Even though Cora hasn’t spoken to him in years, his celebrity has caught the attention of the press, the Internet, the paparazzi, and the government—and with him in hiding, that attention is on her. She neither knows nor cares whether her father’s leaks are a hoax, and wants nothing to do with him—until she learns just how deeply entrenched her family is in the cover-up, and that an extraterrestrial presence has been on Earth for decades.
Realizing the extent to which both she and the public have been lied to, she sets out to gather as much information as she can, and finds that the best way for her to uncover the truth is not as a whistleblower, but as an intermediary. The alien presence has been completely uncommunicative until she convinces one of them that she can act as their interpreter, becoming the first and only human vessel of communication. Their otherworldly connection will change everything she thought she knew about being human—and could unleash a force more sinister than she ever imagined.
About the Author
LINDSAY ELLIS is an author, Hugo finalist and video essayist who creates online content about media, narrative, and film theory. After earning her bachelor's in Cinema Studies from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, she earned her MFA in Film and Television Production from USC's School of Cinematic Arts with a focus in documentary and screenwriting. She lives in Long Beach, California, and Axiom's End is her debut novel.
"Axiom's End is somehow deeply aware of not just what it is to be human, but what it is to be any intelligent species. It's as real as any first-contact story I have ever read. Wonderfully plotted and paced, the adventure never lets up, and neither does the insight." —Hank Green, #1 New York Times bestselling author of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
"So much fun. Lindsay Ellis's experience as one of our sharpest cultural observers gives Axiom's End an edge of realism that makes it both cutting and compelling. Close encounters have a whole new look."
—John Scalzi, New York Times bestselling author and Hugo Award winner
"Axiom's End is eerily plausible and wildly entertaining. An alternate history that fully delivers on its premise." —Caitlin Doughty, New York Times Bestselling Author and Mortician
"Lindsay Ellis's storytelling is what good science fiction should be: smart but heartfelt, full of profound ideas delivered with a sense of humanity. Axiom's End is engaging precisely because it is about something all of us have experienced: That moment when you grow up enough to realize that the universe is more wondrous—and dangerous than you could ever have imagined."
—David Wong, New York Times bestselling author
"Axiom's End: if you enjoy first contact tales, alien cultures, inexplicable found families, beautiful chaos and elegantly constructed stories." —Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author and Hugo Award Winner
"Suspenseful and inventive, but also funny and full of action, Axiom’s End remixes the Hollywood alien-invasion playbook." —Patrick Rapa, Philadelphia Inquirer
"Communication and trust are matters of life and death in Ellis’s thoughtful, fast-paced debut...the powerful connection that grows between Cora and Ampersand as they teach each other about their respective cultures is masterfully done. Lovers of character-focused sci-fi will find plenty to enjoy in this gripping alternate history." —Publishers Weekly