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  • By Alexei Maxim russell
    Jun 27, 2011
    Kea's Flight is one of those novels that depart from the typical. To say it is a work of science fiction, set in a distant future where space travel is the norm, is not to do the novel justice. True, that is the setting and the general description of the novel, but apart from that very general description, Kea's flight conforms to none of the stereotypical conventions of the science fiction genre. It is a pioneering departure in more ways than one. The atmosphere and the future it creates is original and previously uncreated. And yet it is also the first novel, complete, polished and written for the mainstream, that deals with important social questions, including mainstream attitude to those with Austism and Asperger's Syndrome. If you are, like me, a fan of Isaac Asimov and his ability to create alternate realities--so real that you feel like a tourist on holidays, every time you pick up one of his books--then you will surely love Kea's Flight. Being my first exposure to... More > Hammerschmidt, as a fiction writer, Asimov is the writer whose style I have seen most resemblance. Much like Asimov, Hammerschmidt and Ricker demonstrate their power to form alternate realities with the complexity and attention to detail necessary to allow the reader to suspend their disbelief. This gives the novel such a "real" feel, that I find myself attracted, once again, to the novel, after having read it. The setting and characters were described so skillfully, and their reality is so tangible, that I have found myself missing Kea and her friends, and feeling a powerful urge to re-visit them in the "flying dustbin", which is their ship. Hammerschmidt takes care to develop her characters, to a level of breathing realism, and her dialog is strong and believable. Given this, however, her first few chapters, much like Asimov's tend to be, are involved with character development and setting the scene. So, if you are the type of reader who requires immediate action and a great deal of violence or earth-shattering explosions, to keep your attention, you may prefer a book written with more violent action and less character development. Whereas, if you are more a fan of classical literature, then you will appreciate the author's attention to detail. The pace of the book is leisurely, to begin with, but it is more than compensated for, in the later chapters, when the plot begins to quickly and impressively take form. Most good dialogists, such as Hammerschmidt, lack skill with plot. But the plot twists of Kea's Flight, in spite of their slow maturation, are skillfully woven, to the extreme, and no mystery is left unsolved. At some points in the novel, the resolution to a given plot point was so unexpected and so clever that I couldn't help but laugh in wonderment. This is something few authors have been able to do to me. Kea's Flight is a pioneering work, in that it creates a new world, unlike other science fiction worlds so far invented. That is, to my mind, the clearest definition of "pioneering science fiction." But it is also a pioneering work in that it is the first science fiction novel, in my knowledge, to deal with questions of prejudice against those with Autism, Asperger's Syndrome or any other diagnosis termed a "disability" by mainstream culture. It puts this question into a highly entertaining and well-written piece of fiction; it is written by authors who, themselves, have been diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum; it offers solutions to these social problems that leave you wishing, at the end of the book, that you could be on the ship with Kea and her friends, instead of this world, where these illogical prejudices still prevail; it is not afraid to broach controversial social issues, such as birth control and alternative lifestyle choices. For the pioneering reasons above, I rank Kea's Flight as one of the most memorable reads I have had in a long time and I recommend it, particularly to anyone who likes to explore new vistas of science fiction writing, anyone interested in autism/asperger rights and anyone who is a fan of Isaac Asimov, like myself.< Less
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Product Details

Publisher
Erika Hammerschmidt and John C. Ricker
Published
March 20, 2011
Language
English
Pages
569
Binding
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
Weight
3.55 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
5.5 wide x 8.5 tall
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