Light Years from Home

Harlequin Audio. Jan. 2022. 11:42 hrs. ISBN 9781488213434. $26.99. SF
Chen (We Could Be Heroes) returns with an endearing alien contact space opera that mixes dysfunctional family drama with UFO abduction conspiracies and makes for an excellent audiobook. Fifteen years ago, the Shao family was ripped apart when two of its members disappeared from a family camping trip: Arnold Shao, the family patriarch, who eventually returned, and his son Jakob, who did not. Arnold swore until his dying day that he and Jakob were abducted by aliens. Now Arnold’s twin daughters Kass and Evie barely speak and live on opposite sides of the country. Kass takes care of their mother, who has dementia, while Evie has dropped out of college to dive into the conspiracy theory–riddled world of UFO hunters. Soon Jakob returns, but is he really the brother Evie and Kass remember? Chen has written supremely thoughtful science fiction intertwined with a deeply relatable family drama, narrated here with gusto and empathy by the incomparable Emily Woo Zeller.
VERDICT Chen’s novel is sure to please fans of literary fiction as well as staples of sci-fi TV like The X-Files and Fringe. A worthy addition to any contemporary science fiction audio collection.
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