cover image We Have Always Been Here

We Have Always Been Here

Lena Nguyen. DAW, $26 (368p) ISBN 978-0-7564-1729-1

A strange madness takes hold of a ship when it lands on an unexplored planet in Nguyen's suspenseful debut. Natural disasters have decimated Earth's population, and the survivors are in the process of spreading across the galaxy, governed by the Interstellar Frontier, or ISF. The ISF orders 13 experts, among them perspicacious psychologist Grace Park, to travel to the newly discovered planet Eos to determine whether it's habitable. Despite her occupation, Park has always felt more kinship with androids than with her fellow humans, making her a pariah among the crew. But when her mentor disappears into a top secret project, Park is the only person with the know-how to treat her colleagues for mental disturbances. Her new responsibilities fill her with "a throat-aching terror" as a deadly, mysterious condition rapidly spreads among her crewmates, making them behave as though possessed. Meanwhile, Park suspects that everyone but her knows a secret about Eos. As it becomes painfully clear that the ship's androids are her only allies, Park must race to stop the madness before she falls victim to it herself. Nguyen immerses readers in a chilling landscape while effortlessly softening the more sinister moments with wistful, dreamlike flashbacks. This impressive sci-fi thriller marks Nguyen as a writer to watch. Agent: Matt Bialer, Sanford J. Greenburger Assoc. (July)