high quality Axiom's online sale End: A Novel online (Noumena, 1) outlet online sale

high quality Axiom's online sale End: A Novel online (Noumena, 1) outlet online sale

high quality Axiom's online sale End: A Novel online (Noumena, 1) outlet online sale
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THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

The alternate history first contact adventure Axiom''s End is an extraordinary debut from Hugo finalist and video essayist Lindsay Ellis.


Truth is a human right.

It’s fall 2007. A well-timed leak has revealed that the US government might have engaged in first contact. Cora Sabino is doing everything she can to avoid the whole mess, since the force driving the controversy is her whistleblower father. Even though Cora hasn’t spoken to him in years, his celebrity has caught the attention of the press, the Internet, the paparazzi, and the government―and with him in hiding, that attention is on her. She neither knows nor cares whether her father’s leaks are a hoax, and wants nothing to do with him―until she learns just how deeply entrenched her family is in the cover-up, and that an extraterrestrial presence has been on Earth for decades.

Realizing the extent to which both she and the public have been lied to, she sets out to gather as much information as she can, and finds that the best way for her to uncover the truth is not as a whistleblower, but as an intermediary. The alien presence has been completely uncommunicative until she convinces one of them that she can act as their interpreter, becoming the first and only human vessel of communication. Their otherworldly connection will change everything she thought she knew about being human―and could unleash a force more sinister than she ever imagined.

Review

"Axiom''s End is somehow deeply aware of not just what it is to be human, but what it is to be any intelligent species. It''s as real as any first-contact story I have ever read. Wonderfully plotted and paced, the adventure never lets up, and neither does the insight." ―Hank Green, #1 New York Times bestselling author of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

"So much fun. Lindsay Ellis''s experience as one of our sharpest cultural observers gives Axiom''s End an edge of realism that makes it both cutting and compelling. Close encounters have a whole new look."
―John Scalzi, New York Times bestselling author and Hugo Award winner

"Axiom''s End is eerily plausible and wildly entertaining. An alternate history that fully delivers on its premise." Caitlin Doughty, New York Times Bestselling Author and Mortician

"Lindsay Ellis''s storytelling is what good science fiction should be: smart but heartfelt, full of profound ideas delivered with a sense of humanity. Axiom''s End is engaging precisely because it is about something all of us have experienced: That moment when you grow up enough to realize that the universe is more wondrous―and dangerous than you could ever have imagined."
―David Wong, New York Times bestselling author

"Axiom''s End: if you enjoy first contact tales, alien cultures, inexplicable found families, beautiful chaos and elegantly constructed stories." ―Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author and Hugo Award Winner

"
Suspenseful and inventive, but also funny and full of action, Axiom’s End remixes the Hollywood alien-invasion playbook." ―Patrick Rapa, Philadelphia Inquirer

"Communication and trust are matters of life and death in Ellis’s thoughtful, fast-paced debut...the powerful connection that grows between Cora and Ampersand as they teach each other about their respective cultures is masterfully done. Lovers of character-focused sci-fi will find plenty to enjoy in this gripping alternate history." Publishers Weekly

"At its core, Axiom''s End is warm-hearted...For all of its drama and philosophical conundrums, Ellis''s book is ultimately about the power of empathy and kindness in a universe that never has enough of either." Shelf Awareness (starred review)

"A moving first contact thriller...touching on issues of prejudice and xenophobia along the way, Axiom’s End is the engaging first volume of a projected series." The Guardian (UK)

Axiom’s End is the most relatable sci-fi novel in years…if you want to read a serious sci-fi novel that feels like it was written by a fan who understands the pop culture side of fandom, you''re in good hands…It’s a heartfelt story of alien first contact, but, luckily, unlike so many “big idea” sci-fi books, it’s utterly unpretentious…You’ve read other books about similar things, but you’ve never read them from this perspective.” Syfy Wire

Axiom’s End has gripping action scenes, but the bulk is an examination of language and what it means to communicate at all. Ellis’ endless literary knowledge shines through." San Francisco Chronicle

About the Author

LINDSAY ELLIS is a New York Times bestselling author, Hugo Award finalist, and video essayist who creates online content about media, narrative, literature, and film theory. After earning her bachelor''s in cinema studies from NYU''s Tisch School of the Arts, she earned her MFA in film and television production, with a focus in documentary and screenwriting, from USC''s School of Cinematic Arts. She lives in Long Beach, California. Her debut novel, Axiom''s End, was an instant New York Times bestseller.

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Top reviews from the United States

Lady San
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Get the book, just not from Amazon
Reviewed in the United States on July 23, 2020
The 5 stars are for the book and for Lindsay Ellis. I''ve been watching her video essays for years and was very excited to buy her first book. I''m about halfway through and it has not disappointed. She''s a great author with a compelling story; it''s a real struggle to put... See more
The 5 stars are for the book and for Lindsay Ellis. I''ve been watching her video essays for years and was very excited to buy her first book. I''m about halfway through and it has not disappointed. She''s a great author with a compelling story; it''s a real struggle to put this book down. 10/10 recommend.

HOWEVER

I do not give 5 stars to Amazon. My copy came a little worn around the edges (see photos) which was extremely disappointing. This was my graduation present to myself, I just got my BA and don''t have a job because of COVID. Therefore, a $27 book is a treat. I''m really disappointed. I''m going to keep the copy because I really want to read it (hence the pre-order), but it did make me want to come on here and warn you all against purchasing through Amazon. They don''t ship their books well and if you want a nice, pristine 1st edition - take your business somewhere else.
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Aximili
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Hard Sci-Fi with Soft Edges
Reviewed in the United States on July 21, 2020
It''s hard to talk about what I liked about this book without spoiling it. If you like sci-fi, investigation thrillers, aliens, and stories of First Contact going sideways, you will enjoy this. While hard sci-fi, the relationship and character interaction is just... See more
It''s hard to talk about what I liked about this book without spoiling it.

If you like sci-fi, investigation thrillers, aliens, and stories of First Contact going sideways, you will enjoy this. While hard sci-fi, the relationship and character interaction is just as enjoyable and well executed as the handling of government cover-ups, alien language, and culture.

If I had to describe it without giving too much away, I would say this is the best Transformers fanfic I''ve ever read. Truly, calling it Transformers fanfic is probably unjust, I''ve never read or dabbled in that fandom to be sure of that statement. However. I have seen the first few movies, and this is a lot better at exploring a similar concept and plot points, but going off in an original direction. A sister-series if you will ;)

While the plot and story felt like an elevated, and much more interesting, take on synthetic space alien civilizations coming into contact with humans, I really enjoyed the details in this book. The language and dialogue with the aliens and humans really caught my attention. Ellis doesn''t make up a language, or at least words, so it''s not like a fantasy Tolkien language the aliens speak, everything is English and understandable. Alien concepts that don''t translate (which the alien will point out routinely) do get an English word using different root words and such. My point it, everything is understandable, although it is a bit of work to understand at the beginning. It does get easier as you go. I was super engaged during the middle of the book where the human character have some pretty in-depth conversations.

Surprisingly, the humans are pretty interesting in this book. Although we do get a limited number of aliens to compare them too, I did find myself enjoying them. The protagonist''s family especially. I would hope we see more of her aunt and mother in the sequel. Her aunt especially. Her father was interesting as well, if not as a character I would like to have as a parent, he''s an interesting character in fiction though.

The setting actually really works. I really enjoyed the references to the pop culture and goings on in 2007 America. It''s funny, I worried they might feel gratuitous, but instead they kind of took me back to the time itself and how things were back then. I never thought I would feel nostalgic for the Bush era, but since things did make me reminisce in the nostalgia.

Ellis did a great job of making a likeable protagonist with a very strong voice. The story is told from Cora''s POV, and I commend the author for making her likeable, relatable, and interesting. In a cast of CIA, federal agents, and aliens, it is pretty risky to make your Human Protagonist/Audience Stand In so ordinary. But it works. I felt invested in Cora as a person and look forward to seeing her in future installments, along with all the other objectively cooler characters.

The character that really stood out to me is Ampersand. I thought of him as kind of weak character in the beginning. He was interesting, but he was so hostile and terse that I found myself, like Cora I assume, more interested in the answers that came from him about his species, language, and people than himself as a person. It''s only during the later half of the book that he starts to let his guard down a bit and start to open up about himself that I really started to like him. I was absolutely tense during the Final Confrontation where I admit my heart kind of broke for him. The scene in the desert at night is just so wonderfully written. I highlighted the passage about their discussion about the Great Filter. That was a cool moment for me, realizing what the title of the book meant! I just really enjoyed that entire scene and it feels good that Ellis let''s you draw conclusions yourself without spelling things out in text.

Speaking of conclusions, I did have to put the book down and absorb a bit of what was being set up in the final chapter. Possibly slight spoilers in this paragraph. If it''s not clear by the username, I love aliens in fiction, especially aliens that have human friendships. And I was getting some cryptid!lover energy while reading but I wasn''t sure if this book was going there. Let''s just say that when it hit me what had happened, which was confirmed a few pages later, I had to sit back and give thanks Ellis was unafraid to explore the softer sides of hard sci-fi.

Overall, I enjoyed the hell out of this. I bought this out of loyalty to Ellis, as I''ve enjoyed her content for years. I went in completely blind as the marketing was pretty cagey on what this was going to be. But I am so glad this was not only decent, but it quickly has become one of my favorite novels I''ve read this year. I eagerly am waiting for news of a sequel. I''ll be rereading it a few times while I wait. If you''re in doubt, I would implore you to read it. If you enjoyed Animorphs, Ender''s Game, Transformers, or Mass Effect you will enjoy this.
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anonymous
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Your kind of trash
Reviewed in the United States on July 31, 2020
I REALLY enjoy this author’s YouTube content so I tore through this book as soon as it arrived. Boy, oh boy. The fact that it took so many years to get this book off the ground is painfully obvious. I think if she scrapped the whole story and started over fresh with her... See more
I REALLY enjoy this author’s YouTube content so I tore through this book as soon as it arrived. Boy, oh boy. The fact that it took so many years to get this book off the ground is painfully obvious. I think if she scrapped the whole story and started over fresh with her current critical eye it would have turned out much better. Parts of this story completely fall apart. The main character is barely developed and I never got a feel for her personality or interests, other than a few very superficial details. Her family (both immediate and estranged) could be lifted out of the story and I’d hardly notice. It’s almost hilariously bad that the main character actually acknowledges that she has forgotten about her family halfway through the book after they haven’t been referenced at all for many chapters. The pacing in the last quarter felt like a word limit had to be reached. The same confrontations happen over and over and over near the end. The editing was a little sloppy. Several unique words or phrases would be repeated word for word in the next paragraph or sentence...it gave the impression that sentences were being moved around to get a better flow, but the editor forgot to delete the unwanted text. Despite all this, it’s not the worst book I’ve ever read. The descriptions of the aliens and their culture was fun. I liked Ampersand’s cold, curt, way of communicating and got a couple laughs because of it. All said, though, this book is firmly in the YA category. If you’re looking for a “beach read” sci-fi book, this would be a good choice.
66 people found this helpful
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Katie G
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent as Expected
Reviewed in the United States on July 23, 2020
Short review: extremely good book. Reminiscent of John Scazi. Funny, thought-provoking, hard to tear your eyes away from the pages. Longer Review: So I’ve been watching Lindsay Ellis make media analysis videos (on YouTube) ever since I was 16 and beginning... See more
Short review: extremely good book. Reminiscent of John Scazi. Funny, thought-provoking, hard to tear your eyes away from the pages.

Longer Review:
So I’ve been watching Lindsay Ellis make media analysis videos (on YouTube) ever since I was 16 and beginning to develop opinions and a personality; in many ways, Lindsay Ellis was the model of the type of person I wanted to become. In this book, I can hear her voice as clearly as if she were dictating one of her videos, and it remains as insightful and funny as I remember it being 10 years ago.

I went into reading this book knowing LITERALLY nothing about it (beyond it being science fiction) so if you’d like to have a similar experience, then don’t read any further.

This book is focused on a college dropout named Cora who becomes wrapped up in humanity’s first contact with extraterrestrial life after an alien named Ampersand designates her his interpreter. The events leading up to that are a tinge too complicated explain in an amazon review, but the narrative mainly focuses on their relationship and their attempts to understand one another.

The character’s attempts to do so are stilted, largely because, as Ampersand articulately explains in the novel, people can only filter alien life through the prism of their own existence. When a species refuses to fit into the other’s preconceived notions of life/culture/philosophies, one will attempt to remake the other in its own image, either by influence or violent force.

Much of the setting will be extremely familiar to anyone who has ever lived on the Los Angeles periphery. As Ellis lives in Long Beach, it was easy for me to imagine the locations and geography (even some of the precise street names) mentioned in the novel. She describes the settings without lingering too long on them, something that I find drags down other stories that would have otherwise been far more interesting.

The aliens, it should go without saying, are utterly alien. Less Star Trekian foreheads and more cyborg velociraptors from space. Their social structures and biology are bizarre, which is fitting with the themes of the book.

The only minor criticism of the book I have is Ellis’s reliance on pop culture to explain certain concepts or emotional states to the reader. It’s definitely still funny, but that humor has a short half-life in the grand scheme of storytelling. Again; VERY minor criticism. Tons of accomplished and respected authors do this, and they’re far more guilty of it than Ellis is.

So anyway I inhaled this book in about 2 days so I recommend it.
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Kim
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Ellis ignores her own critiques
Reviewed in the United States on August 4, 2020
I am a fan of Lindsay Ellis in general, primarily those as a video essayist, but I have to be honest in my review and state that this novel is not good, nor do I think it’s a good demonstration of her skills as a writer. I can tell there is a lot of thought that has gone... See more
I am a fan of Lindsay Ellis in general, primarily those as a video essayist, but I have to be honest in my review and state that this novel is not good, nor do I think it’s a good demonstration of her skills as a writer. I can tell there is a lot of thought that has gone into the setting, the extraterrestrials, the communication that is explored, and creating an alternate universe during the time period. The exploration of concepts such as the Great Filter and the Kardashev Scale were fascinating and I appreciated the depth of thought devoted to the story. I''m going to try to keep things spoiler free in this review, so will be a tad vague going forward.

Identifying with the characters was difficult, as none of them - including the main character, Cora, felt like they had any depth. I finished the book still not understanding who Cora was, what was motivating her and her actions, and feeling as though she never really had a personality developed; it was like I was watching an action movie where the main character is really just there to function as a plot Mcguffin, sort of like Jessica Chastain’s character in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. The entirety of her being was all actions. Most of the personality development came from some an initial introduction to her family and references to quirky pajama choices, as well as flashbacks to the connection to her famous father.

Subplot threads like that of her father, and her aunt, were never fully concluded. It gave the impression of being an entire subplot that had been pointlessly introduced in order for her family to serve as a functioning motive for a character that otherwise had zero motivation. Once the family’s thread of motivation is concluded, the ongoing drive from the character doesn’t seem to exist. The other characters, even the aliens, were similarly shallow. Behaviors and interactions from and with the government entities within the book were also confusing and seemed uncharacteristic, poorly researched, and unsubstantiated.

The story itself did not explain certain things that were happening and had such fast transitions that the overall tone felt rushed and incoherent. Primary explanations for huge swathes of the backstory for the novel''s world (which is, in fact, very well thought-out) happened almost entirely through monologue exposition from the main alien character in large chunks of dialogue at random points in the story, which to me is a terrible way of providing history and context when telling a story. When the ending happened, despite being aware that I was at the end of the book, I was shocked at how abrupt it was. It reminded me in many ways of Stephanie Meyer’s writing style...but Meyer''s is better.

I''m predominantly surprised overall that as someone who critiques stories, film, and more types of media, Ellis appears to have ignored all of her own advice and criticisms in this book. The concept itself is so intriguing that I think it needs a rewrite with Ellis'' current knowledge. At the end of the book, I could barely remember anything I''d read because there was hardly anything of substance and felt like the literary equivalent of splashing in a child''s pool versus diving into a lake or the ocean. Perhaps a young teenager - say, 12-14 years old - would enjoy this novel. But from an adult perspective, reading about a 21 year old protagonist, this book just is not good and reads more like a script for a fast, ill-developed action film. I feel terrible saying this, as - since I mentioned above - I am a fan of Lindsay Ellis. This novel just isn''t up to her usual standards.
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Elya Reviews
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Bad
Reviewed in the United States on July 31, 2020
I don''t know, the writing is so bad. I''m on the first chapter and all the details are so superficial. The names are stupid too. Cora, Demi, Broken Seal, *groan*. The protagonist is meh, and the mother is meh. This book took a long time to publish? Some things... See more
I don''t know, the writing is so bad. I''m on the first chapter and all the details are so superficial. The names are stupid too. Cora, Demi, Broken Seal, *groan*. The protagonist is meh, and the mother is meh.

This book took a long time to publish? Some things feel so outdated. I don''t know, I just can''t get into it.

I''m only 26 years old, I don''t think I''m so far from the target demographic but the first chapter of this book is just cringe.

Three stars because it''s hard to write a book and the author''s YouTube channel is pretty great, but I''m returning this.
27 people found this helpful
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Great First Contact Story
Reviewed in the United States on July 22, 2020
I burned through this book in two days. It didn''t go exactly where I expected it to, but I loved where it went. I don''t know how to go into everything I enjoyed without spoiling it. 10/10 on aliens- I loved Ampersand, I liked the alien world building, and I ended up rooting... See more
I burned through this book in two days. It didn''t go exactly where I expected it to, but I loved where it went. I don''t know how to go into everything I enjoyed without spoiling it. 10/10 on aliens- I loved Ampersand, I liked the alien world building, and I ended up rooting for every single alien I was introduced to. Aliens are my jam.

If you like sci fi, if you like alien stories, and if you want a strong, historically based take on the idea of first contact this is the book for you.

If you''re a Lindsay Ellis fan you don''t even need my review and you probably pre-ordered the book like I did.
22 people found this helpful
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Jay W. Abbit
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Axiom''s End: A science fiction novel about language and empathy
Reviewed in the United States on July 27, 2020
The book takes place in 2007, and features a story centered around an alien invasion, government cover-ups, and a college dropout woman who''s caught in the middle. I''m pretty unspoiled, and went in completely blind, so I won''t say anymore than that as I feel it''s the best... See more
The book takes place in 2007, and features a story centered around an alien invasion, government cover-ups, and a college dropout woman who''s caught in the middle. I''m pretty unspoiled, and went in completely blind, so I won''t say anymore than that as I feel it''s the best way to ingest the story. I''m going to say.... think X-Files meets Contact meets Arrival.

The story gets going pretty fast, and Ellis drops us into story as it''s already unfolding and the audience plays catch-up via dialogue. Honestly, I think this is the best way to handle storytelling of this nature, and is literally the pacing I utilize myself when writing. The dialogue is flowing pretty natural, with no annoyingly stiff and long exposition like some science fiction. The main character, Cora, is fairly fleshed out and a strong character as we learn along the story. It takes some time for her personality to really shine in the story, but she ends up being a great protagonist to follow.

The themes are definitely language and interaction, but especially posture, body language, emotional connections, and, probably the most overt, music. Hard to say how that''ll play out this early, but I''m enjoying it so far.

There''s an odd reliance on popular culture, however, which... is somewhat NOT surprising given who she is and was, but some of it feels like product placement even though I know it is not and probably a few shout outs to some of her favorite things. I suspect she''s using this to showcase her character''s personality through her interests in specific music and video games, but I feel like much of an understanding of that can only be gleaned if you share her character''s interests. I know what they are, but I''m not convinced most readers will understand what The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion or Soulcalibur is, personally.

It also roots all this in a specific period, which is partially the intent as the book takes place in 2007, and post-911 Bush era paranoia is definitely a thing. Fear of the outsider and the unknown.

It''s a great and engaging read. Hoping for a film or TV adaptation someday.
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Top reviews from other countries

A. Whitehead
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A strong debut novel
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 27, 2020
August, 2007. A meteorite falls on northern California. A whistleblower goes public with evidence that the US government has been in communication with an alien intelligence and flees to Germany. His daughter, embarrassed by his behaviour, tries to ignore the unwanted cult...See more
August, 2007. A meteorite falls on northern California. A whistleblower goes public with evidence that the US government has been in communication with an alien intelligence and flees to Germany. His daughter, embarrassed by his behaviour, tries to ignore the unwanted cult of celebrity and get on with things. Suddenly a second meteor falls on apparently the exact same sport as the first, a coincidence so remote as to be effectively impossible, and suddenly the implausible feels very real indeed. Axiom''s End is the debut novel by Lindsay Ellis, a popular video essayist and film critic known for her deep dives on the making of film and TV shows. She was nominated for a Hugo for her three-part series on Peter Jackson''s deeply troubled Hobbit film project, and also posted an excellent analysis of the problems with Game of Thrones. Fortunately, it turns out she''s pretty handy in the realm of fiction as well. Axiom''s End is a story about humanity encountering an alien race, only to find the aliens are almost impossible to communicate with due to the total absence of common frames of reference. Early parts of the book, where the existence of the aliens is unclear, are framed like an X-Files thriller where government agents are keeping tabs on a young woman because of what she thinks is her father''s criminal activities. Cora gets first-hand evidence that the aliens are real and that pretty much everyone is in the dark about what''s really going on, resulting in a satisfying story shift where she gains more power, knowledge and agency because of her own experiences (a nice inversion on the more traditional story where the protagonist is always playing catch-up with the plot but somehow ends out coming on top). There''s some pretty cool horror scenes early on, and a vein of humour running through the books which stays just on the right side of dated pop culture references (the alternate-past setting helps with that). Cora''s conspiracy theorist father - Edward Snowden fused with Fox Mulder - starts off as an all-knowing sage drip-feeding the audience with hints of greater knowledge via excerpts from his blog, until you realise he doesn''t really know anything either and is desperately trying to make himself seem more important than he really is (sort of a budget Melisandre in the story) whilst also falling way behind the curve of the story, which becomes increasingly amusing. The second half of the story feels like it slightly undercuts its own premise. The aliens initially appear almost too different for humans to effectively communicate with them, but ultimately a method of communication does appear which ends up being about as good as Google Translate (i.e. mostly okay with the occasional clunker), which makes the story way more manageable, but some of the unique atmosphere of the story is lost. It is replaced by a more traditional story about people from completely different civilisations trying to overcome apparently insurmountable odds to establish a rapport. This is excellently handled, but it does feel that the story has switched directions from something a bit weirder (think China Mieville''s Embassytown or Ted Chiang''s The Story of Your Life, later filmed as Arrival) to something a little more traditional (maybe Starman with a slightly less attractive and indeed non-humanoid Jeff Bridges). There are still a lot of interesting plot twists and the weirdness of the aliens is maintained through their technology and weapons; when two of the aliens come into conflict, Ellis successfully portrays the idea of humans interfering as being akin to a gnat trying to stop a jet fighter dogfight. There''s also another raft of thematic ideas related to first contact that are intelligently explored, from the existence of the so-called "Great Filter" (the puzzle that if intelligent, technologically-advanced life is possible, as we have shown, why hasn''t it already colonised the galaxy?) to the dangers incurred when a more technologically advanced species encounters a less technologically-advanced one. Axiom''s End (****½) may end up being a bit less strange than it initially promises, but it''s still a compulsive page-turner with a nice line in both terror and humour. There will be sequels - the book is touted as the first in the Noumena sequence - but the book has a fair amount of closure to it and no immediate cliffhangers.
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Amy Walker
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I Loved This Book So So Much
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 30, 2020
The description for Axiom''s End makes the story sound like it''s about truth, that it''ll ask questions of whether or not the public has the right to know everything the government knows. Whilst these are important questions, and ones that the book does address, this isn''t...See more
The description for Axiom''s End makes the story sound like it''s about truth, that it''ll ask questions of whether or not the public has the right to know everything the government knows. Whilst these are important questions, and ones that the book does address, this isn''t what the book meant to me, or what I really took away from it. Anyone who''s watched through Lindsay Ellis'' videos will be aware that one of the topics that seems to come up a lot is that of monsters, and about loving them. This is probably best explored in her video essay ''My Monster Boyfriend'', but is by no means the only time that she talks about it. Monsters used to be surrogates for fears, for the worries of the times when they were made. Whether it''s the fear of people of colour taking the ''virtue'' of white women that was at the heart of films like Creature From The Black Lagoon, Birth of a Nation, or even King Kong, or the fear of american values being replaced by communism in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, monsters have stood in for real life people for decades. But as long as that''s been a thing so has monsters being a source of love. Stories like Beauty and the Beast, to even further back and myths like Eros and Psyche which dates back to the 2nd century AD, tell stories of people falling in love with inhuman creatures. Lindsay Ellis talks about these themes a lot, whether it''s when she''s discussing Disney movies, or her love of Phantom of the Opera, as such I shouldn''t have been surprised to see these themes featured so heavily in her book. But damn it all, she managed to draw me into a monster romance without me realising it. One of the two leads of the novel is Cora, a young woman who''s having to deal with the fact that her absentee father is on the run from the authorities, and that his quest for ''the truth'' has made the lives of his family difficult to say the least. They''re investigated by the authorities, tailed by shadowy figures, and hounded by the press. Add on to this Cora''s difficulty with having recently moved back home with her mother, and her trouble keeping a job, and we meet a woman who''s dealing with a lot. Because of this, I wasn''t quite sure what I felt about her at first. At times I was able to identify with her, I could look at some of the struggles she was having and see similar things from different times in my life. But there were also times she came across as naive and foolish, and seemed to not really have her life together. But then really who does? The other main character is Ampersand. He''s a little less easy to describe. He''s an alien. And not like any kind of alien that I''ve experienced before. The way that Lindsay describes him makes him so inhuman, more akin to combination of animal and machine; or as she described in my interview with her, a mix of the Xenomorph and Eva from Wall-E. Yet I pictured him with a strange sense of beauty and almost regalness. I saw this alien creature that at times made me think of an insect, at others he was quite feline, or even deer-like. But through it all there was something about him that fascinated me and grabbed my attention. Much like Cora, when we first meet Ampersand he''s not the nicest of people. He can communicate with Cora, but barks orders, comes across as threatening at times, and doesn''t seem to have any kind of interest in people beyond using them to achieve his end goal. He certainly never seemed to regard any of them as being worthy of thought or care. But when these two came together something magical happened. Cora had to grow up all of a sudden, she had to step up to responsibility and put herself in a position that would test her beyond her limits; and Ampersand, he had to learn that his initial opinions of humans were wrong, that we''re not just violent, animalistic creatures, but were worthy of his attention a,nd care. The relationship between the two of them never felt strange, and the fact that he''s so alien helped this. This isn''t a girl falling in love with a vampire or a zombie because he''s a hot boy, or even something resembling a boy. This is two beings learning to like each other from an intellectual level. They connected through their minds and personalities. Because of this the love that seemed to form between them never felt cliched or hackneyed, it felt real. Whilst they seem to form an attachment like a working relationship, bordering on friendship, there''s a scene where Cora is scared and feeling alone, the weight of everything crushing down on her, and Ampersand comes to comfort her. He sees this being that''s so alien to him, who he barely understands at time, and he sees that she''s suffering and can''t help himself from helping her. The tenderness that this alien creature shows this young woman is so genuine and earnest that that was the moment I realised that these two could fall in love. Not a physical love, driven by hormones or sexual desire, but a love for who the other is, driven by a desire to see the other happy and safe. There''s something that happens towards the end of the book where it looks like Ampersand might be revealed to be a villain, and it made my heart break. I was so hurt that this creature I''d fallen in love with alongside Cora could have been evil this whole time that when this is proven to be false I was so unbelievably happy. I could''t have dealt with that level of betrayal from him. And I''d probably never be able to engage with any of Lindsay''s work again either if that had happened as she''d have betrayed me in the worst way. The book ends with the two characters closer than ever, with an undeniable connection that''s so akin to love that I couldn''t see it any other way. These last moments of the book, with the two of them together, caring for each other made me cry. Physically cry. I''ll cry at tv and film all the time, hell, half the stuff on the internet gets me; but a book has never gotten me like this. It''s never made such a raw emotional connection with a book before. I spent much of the rest of that night and the day after thinking about this, considering why this story connected with me so much, about why I came to care about Ampersand to the point of desperately wanting to read more about him. I went back and watched the video essay Lindsay made about loving monsters to see if that might help me figure some things out. Monsters are shunned by society. They''re seen as ugly. It''s assumed that they''re threats to the way of life, that they''re here to do awful things. And whilst sometimes this is true that''s not always the case. Because monsters don''t have to represent our fears anymore, they can represent us too. They can act as stand ins for marginalised people, people who are shunned by society, who are seen as threats. I realised that I connected with Ampersand so much because I''m a monster too. At least in the eyes of some people. People like myself, and many others, others who are viewed as ''different'' and ''strange'' get told that we''re not normal. We''re told that we''re more violent, that we''re a threat to women and children, that we''re predisposed to violence, that we''ll always be alone in the world because we''re freaks. For a long while I was alone, and couldn''t help but hear those kind of things and believe them. Maybe I was a monster, maybe I was doomed to be alone forever. I never dreamed that I''d find a loving connection with someone and be happy. So when I saw this happening with Ampersand, when he and Cora began to form this friendship, which would go on to blossom into love I couldn''t help but project a little onto him. Ampersand means so much to me because I was that monster at one point. Axiom''s End became a story that meant something to me. It connected with me on a personal level that I never thought it would. The characters came to mean something important. If I could meet Ampersand in real life I would in a heartbeat. I''d love to see how beautiful he is, to see those wonderful eyes he has, to be held by him like he holds Cora, because I''ve gone and fallen in love with him and what he represents. Axiom''s End might be a story about truth, it might have stuff to say on government accountability and censorship, it might have amazing aliens and an intricate story, but to me first and foremost this book is about love. It''s about showing people that no matter how you see yourself, or how others might see you, no one is really a monster, that we''re all deserving of and capable of love. I doubt that Lindsay herself will ever read this review, but if she does I just want to say thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. This book is special. It means something. And I love it. Words can''t do my feelings on this book justice. It is everything I never knew I needed and more.
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Mr. D. M. Edwards
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
First contact and existential crises
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 28, 2020
I''m a fan of Lindsay Ellis from her YouTube channel, where she explains film theory and produces fascinating video essays. I''ve always liked her presentation style and when she announced that she was publishing a book, I ordered it without even reading the genre as I...See more
I''m a fan of Lindsay Ellis from her YouTube channel, where she explains film theory and produces fascinating video essays. I''ve always liked her presentation style and when she announced that she was publishing a book, I ordered it without even reading the genre as I figured I would enjoy it regardless. I was right! TL:DR, an enjoyable sci-fi yarn about first contact and existential crises. Slight spoilers below. Axiom''s end is an interesting style of sci-fi, narrow in it''s focus on a small cast of characters, but broad in its scope and the themes it explores about our place in the universe and what alien first contact might be like. The main character Cora and her relationship with the excellent Ampersand are the focus of most of the book, with their discussions both funny and thought provoking. It''s a fairly standard fugitive story, with a sci-fi angle and aspects that have been done before in different ways, but this story takes many good elements and pulls them together into a narrative that rolls along well once it gets going. I have two criticisms though: I initially found certain naming of events and items generic ''the Fremda memo'', ''the obelus event'' etc. This is later played up as a meta joke, but initially it annoyed me. Also, I feel that the whole Nils character (an Edward Snowden type) and his relationship to Cora could have been removed and the story could have carried on just as well! It feels like his relationship with Cora or his family should have either resolved, or that he should have been more impactful. He mostly serves as exposition, but I feel that this could have been done via Cora''s Aunt Luciana, who is also well drawn and their relationship is interesting. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The main characters are likeable, especially Ampersand and the flaws are minor compared with the positives. If you like Lindsay''s videos, you''ll like this book. If you like the X-files, Star Trek or Stargate, you''ll like this book.
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
a real page turner
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 9, 2020
I''m a big fan of Lindsay Ellis, and listen to her pod-cast and enjoy her video essays on YouTube. I bought the book primarily out of curiosity and to support Lindsay. I found the beginning of the book a little difficult to get in to, but once I was hooked I finished the...See more
I''m a big fan of Lindsay Ellis, and listen to her pod-cast and enjoy her video essays on YouTube. I bought the book primarily out of curiosity and to support Lindsay. I found the beginning of the book a little difficult to get in to, but once I was hooked I finished the book in three days. The book is excellently paced with questions posed, and reveals keeping the pages turning! I am already waiting in anticipation for the second book. even if aliens aren''t your thing, I recommend giving this book a chance, despite its subject it couldn''t be more human.
5 people found this helpful
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Meebs
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Pretty good! Beauty and the Beast meets MiB
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 24, 2020
I don''t usually write reviews because I can be overly critical and hard to please, so a title of ''pretty good'' is actually a rave review from me. I found Axiom''s End a little slow to start but once it got into the swing of it I was hooked, literally didn''t put it down until...See more
I don''t usually write reviews because I can be overly critical and hard to please, so a title of ''pretty good'' is actually a rave review from me. I found Axiom''s End a little slow to start but once it got into the swing of it I was hooked, literally didn''t put it down until I''d finished. Not my usual genre otherwise I''d try and equate it as possible. (I''ve watched a good few of the Authors video essays and found them amusing and I''m insatiable for new books to read) I''m lacking sources for ''alien encounter''. The closest I can get is beauty and the beast meets men in black. I''ll read most things once for the novelty but I''ll definitely give this a reread. Not sure yet if it''ll make it to the frequent reread pile but I will certainly look forward to more stories from the author!
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