cover image Key Lime Sky

Key Lime Sky

Al Hess. Angry Robot, $18.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-915998-12-5

The cozy latest from Hess (World Running Down) is a turducken of a novel—a love story within an alien invasion plot within a narrative of self-love and self-discovery. Things are looking bad for Denver Bryant, an autistic, nonbinary food blogger who uses xe/xem pronouns and specializes in pies. Xir blog revenue is minimal and xe feels increasingly isolated in the small town of Muddy Gap, Wyo., whose other residents jokingly refer to xem as “Professor Pie.” When Denver witnesses an alien invasion, however, xir relation of it on xir blog goes viral. As events—such as meeting the sexy and kind Ezra Miramontes, and discovering the relationship between a hail of minuscule shells and bright orange sandstorms—unfurl, Denver continues to document them meticulously for xir blog readers. Denver and Ezra’s relationship progresses—with some expected, if somewhat contrived, misunderstandings and miscommunications—at the same time as an alien force consumes more and more of their town. Denver is forced into heroics xe never knew xe was capable of, and the result is a feel-good if somewhat scattered, sci-fi romp. Readers will be pleased. Agent: Ren Balcombe, Janklow and Nesbit U.K. (Aug.)