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Daniel M. Bensen. Flame Tree, $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-78758-469-3

Bensen’s entertaining sequel to Junction sends protagonist Anne Houlihan and her boyfriend, Daisuke Matsumori, back to the diverse alien planet of Junction for further adventures. Eccentric millionaire Farhad Irevani, who considers himself a “bioprospector,” asks Anne, the planet’s discoverer, to return to Junction with him to explore a mysterious wormhole that may provide “a way to get into orbit without all the fuss of rocketry.” Anne and Daisuke agree to the trip, though they’re wary of Farhad’s motives. But once she’s back on her beloved planet, Anne finds renewed purpose in life. And when she learns the true nature of Farhad’s mission, she must fight to save the ecological diversity of Junction. Bensen writes with characteristic nuance, keenly balancing human drama and ambition against the incredible alien landscape of Junction while delivering an urgent tale of the perils of space exploration that casts humanity’s quest to expand into extraterrestrial territory in an unforgiving light. Fans and new readers alike will enjoy the sharp, detailed prose and inventive descriptions of unfamiliar worlds. [em](July) [/em]