A Question of Navigation: Ghastly, gory, and entertaining

A Question of Navigation by Kevin Hearne science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsA Question of Navigation by Kevin Hearne science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsA Question of Navigation by Kevin Hearne

While on a hike, Clint Beecham gets abducted by aliens. The aliens have decided that humans are tasty and that Earth will make a wonderful buffet for them. Along with Clint, they’ve kidnapped 50,000 humans and are on their way back to their mother planet where they will report the location of this big delicious feeding trough.

Most of the captured humans have been put into a cargo hold and are being harvested for food, but Clint and a few others have been set aside for a special purpose. They are scientists and mathematicians and are not only required to help the aliens with their calculations, but are also providing the entertainment. Because it’s fun for them, the aliens give them just enough hope and resources to induce these smart humans to try to get out of their predicament.

Can Clint and his new allies save themselves from being eaten by aliens? And do they care enough, and are they clever and courageous enough, to also save their fellow human beings?

A Question of Navigation (2021) is, as I’ve come to expect from Kevin Hearne, extremely entertaining. The premise is ghastly, there are several gory scenes (this is a story I probably wouldn’t want to watch if it was made into a movie), the plot moves fast with nonstop tension and suspense, yet Hearne balances it perfectly with a lighthearted tone and plenty of comedy. Characters are sketched briefly, but are given enough time to grow. This is a quick read (144 pages, three hours in audio format) that feels like the ideal length for such a stressful story.

I have a copy of Subterranean Press’s print version of A Question of Navigation as well as the audio version which is read by Luke Daniels. Daniels performs all of Hearne’s stories in audio and I am always going to choose that format for Hearne’s stories because they make such an excellent team. The audiobook also features something I’ve never heard before but greatly appreciated — a blooper reel at the end. This was hilarious. But if you’re not an audiobook reader, grab a copy of the print edition by Subterranean Press. You don’t want to miss this fun story!

Published in 2021. The only favor the aliens do for Clint Beecham when they abduct him is give him a shirt that says DO NOT EAT on it in their language. He’s told that as a physicist, he is to be reserved, along with five other scientists, for a mysterious purpose. But fifty thousand other humans on board the interstellar scout ship are scheduled to be butchered and frozen, a food supply for the long journey to the alien homeworld. Clint and the other Reserves can’t stand by and let that happen. Ayesha is a biologist and Deepali a geologist; Oscar is a meteorologist and Gregory specializes in robotics; Hanh is a researcher in marine biology. Together they’re humanity’s last unlikely hope. Because if they don’t find a way to stop the ravenous aliens from reporting that they’ve found a planet full of delicious creatures to eat, the fifty thousand humans on board will only be the first of billions: the entire earth will become an all-you-can-eat buffet.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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3 comments

  1. OMG! Sounds terrible. It’s on my t read list. LOL.

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