Xenophobia is set in Malawi, Africa, with US soldiers acting as peacekeepers to stop a civil war erupting. When an alien spacecraft arrives in orbit, America is thrown into turmoil and US troops are withdrawn from hotspots around the globe to provide support at home. Malawi descends into chaos. Xenophobia follows a band of US Rangers that stay behind to get doctors and patients from an outlying field hospital to safety. When hundreds of alien spacecraft begin flying overhead, the dynamics of war take on an entirely new dimension.
©2013 Peter Cawdron (P)2014 Peter Cawdron
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I started to wonder what xenophobia is, here is what I found out: intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries. I never knew that this phobia had a name, and I know several people who could be categorized here. Mix in the alien landing and I am ready for some intense cultural war. Especially by the look of the extraterrestrials on the cover, airborne jellyfish, are those ships or the creatures themselves?
Cawdron starts off by introducing us to the cast of characters in the little military team and the civilians that round it out. By far my favorite was Elvis, no not the musical superstar, but a man who insists on talking like the one you just thought of, hilarious and not annoying at all. Just so happens that he is our male protagonist and I could listen to more stories about him. Then there is our female protagonist, Bower, a civilian doctor who stays behind with the military so she can care for the patients. Then all hell starts to break loose.
An alien craft is detected 6 months before it arrives to earth, they took their sweet time. Much political drama ensues, as you would expect, but it was done from the perspective of the soldiers. Never a full story transmitted to them. Now I don't want to give too much away here. Let me just say that this was one of the most thought provoking first contact stories that I have ever listened to. Full of great gritty action, dripping with suspense and plot twists coming from left field. I never knew what was going to happen, every time I tried to guess I was wrong. A true exploration of fear, fear of what is within us, and fear of others. I am now a fan of Cawdron and need to listen to more of his work.
Audiobook submitted for review by the author.
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No, but I would recommend it to anyone who asks me what I have listened to that I liked recently.
The conclusion was very visual and intense.
They brought the characters to life in a profound way, most notably Elvis. Truly a stellar character. Worth the price of admission alone.
Yes, emphatically. I tried!
This is an OUTSTANDING audio performance. Takes awhile to get into it, and likely not everyones cup of tea, but certainly the story and the performance is worth the credit for the scifi fan. And ELVIS rules!
I really like and appreciate when a story is 'performed' versus just read aloud. I do like just read aloud as well. this was a great job of performing the book. They story on the other hand...(spoilers follow)
Extremely bland scifi. Felt like it was 'science for dummies'. If you are technical and science minded (or a big time scifi fan), this story is borderline insulting in how everything is explained way too much. Maybe good as scifi 'lite'. If you've ever enjoyed Pournelle and Niven, you'll be bored by this. The main female character is just annoying and hardly believable in the setting. Maybe just a little too idealistic and the author makes no attempt to hide his effort to shove his agenda down the readers throat. Saves me the trouble of reading more Cawdon for sure.
Hands down, I fell in love with Stella. So much so, I had to recreate her in a crocheted toy, which the author's daughter is now 'mum' to. I loved everything about this story and how the author really took me away to a place where people really worked together and tried to work with a new alien force coming to this world. That force was as hard to work with as we would be---but given some leeway, problems got solved. I especially loved, the "Red light, green light" verbal cues given to Stella (one of the aliens). It was amazing to read of 'her' transference wanting to help and, in turn, wanting to TEACH.
I have nothing to compare this book to. The excellent writing, characters, plot, twists and turns all stand on their own like no other I have read.
Editorial and technical help.
I absolutely had an extreme reaction to this book. It made me go through several emotions with the most connection (least of which you would expect) with the alien, Stella. Peter Cawdron 'kept the distance' of an alien species but made 'her' so lovable, you couldn't help but empathize with this other life that was 'visiting' Earth. Instead of making this other 'race', if you will, scary and destructive, you're glued to your chair reading about how, "hello...guess what? You're idiots. We've been watching how you've been handling things....poorly." It was a great twist on "god." Who IS watching? Who judges? This book brings these questions to the forefront.
I was really sorry when the story ended. That rarely happens with me because I can predict what happens next. Not here. Not with Peter Cawdron writing. Once you've read Xenophobia, you'll know not to try to 'write ahead of the author'. Peter's already several steps ahead of you and put in forks in the road you had no idea were coming up.
Say something about yourself!
This was a great story, from start to finish. Great action and suspense with great character development and several unexpected twists. The narration and effects here were very well done.
Overall the storyline was good. This is the first audiobook that I have purchased with sound effects. It contributed to the book immensely. I can't wait to find more books produced this way.
I love books, but reading makes me sleepy. Hence, my Audible account! :)
Yes, I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a first contact story that actually makes sense.
I liked the fact that this was not an evil alien story, that is so prevalent in this genre.
No, I haven't.
It made me smile a lot! :)
This was a very rewarding read/listen.
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