I must admit that my first taste of Nancy Kress wasn’t her fiction, but her non-fiction. I read her writing about writing long before I read her actual writing. So, when I saw Steal Across the Sky by Nancy Kress, I had to pick it up. Better late than never, right?
So, to the story: Steal Across the Sky is a concept-driven science fiction story (no, that’s not as redundant as it may seem) that answers the question: What if aliens landed on the moon and, bypassing the “proper channels,” broadcast their intention to the whole human population, via the Internet no less, to atone for an undisclosed sin they committed against humanity after they kidnapped some of our people 10,000 years ago? They start by inviting “witnesses” from Earth to visit some planets on their behalf.
I’ll give Kress this much, the answer is THOROUGH. News clippings. Comics. Interview transcripts. Presidential speeches. News conferences with senators. Advertisements. Marketing schemes. The whole nine yards.
Oh, and there’s a story, too.
That’s not intended as snide as it might sound. You see, the book is a concept-driven story alright, but the story is driven by characters thrown together in a truly strange situation, trying to figure things out, cope with the strange, cope with the aftermath, and find resolutions for their discoveries. Like a good story should.
So, if you’re craving a good dollop of science fiction, crafted by a master with a deft hand for characters, then Steal Across the Sky is a good bet. It’s got all the well-developed science premise of classic sci-fi, with a contemporary touch of character that delves just a little bit deeper into the psyche and the normalcy of the characters than the classic stuff. Taste this blend of new and old, I think you’ll appreciate the fine flavor. Rest assured, it all comes together in the end.