cover image God Is an Astronaut

God Is an Astronaut

Alyson Foster. Bloomsbury, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-1-62040-356-3

Foster’s choice to present her debut novel as a series of emails is a curious one, especially given the intriguing material. Spaceco is a for-profit space tourism business that offers $250,000 tickets to orbit Earth in a rocket ship. One of the company’s spacecraft recently exploded at liftoff, killing two crew members and four paying passengers. Liam, a Spaceco employee who becomes the public face of the company following the disaster, will do anything in his power to keep the company from falling apart—though he seems unable to simultaneously keep his marriage together. The story is told via emails from his wife, Jess (a tenured science professor), to Arthur, her former lover. The emails help Jess process her emotions, as she is bombarded by journalists’ requests for interviews about the accident but advised by her lawyers to keep silent. Unfortunately, the format is distracting—especially because Jess recreates entire scenes, with dialogue, in her emails to her ex-beau, including extensive blow-by-blow accounts of arguments and conversations she has with her husband. While the plot is smart and raises sharp questions about the dubious ethics of extreme tourism, the epistolary form prevents the reader from becoming completely immersed in the story. [em](July) [/em]