cover image Sanctuary


Allen Steele. Fantastic, $26.99 (308p) ASIN B06Y1874D8

Three-time Hugo Award winner Steele (The Emperor of Mars) pulls off an unusual genre-bending adventure in this mélange of far-future alien-human interaction and classic gumshoe investigation. The novel comprises four novellas, originally published in altered form in Asimov’s Science Fiction, with added connective tissue in the form of a prologue, an epilogue, and interludes taking the form of diary entries from survivors of the interstellar ship crash that stranded human survivors on the planet Tau Ceti-e generations earlier. In the present, divorced, world-weary former policeman Jeremy Crowe, a private detective, investigates a puzzling case involving the origin of Sanctuary, a restricted human enclave with a strict caste system that survives by the reluctant grace of Tau Ceti-e’s canine-like natives in a plastic-free milieu harkening back to the 17th century. What starts as a missing person case leads Jeremy through Sanctuary’s mean streets, the Cetans’ smelly Dogtown, and into the exotic Palace of Dancing Dogs, where a hitherto unknown human colony tutors the dominant natives in newfangled technology. Steele’s engaging tough-guy narrator and well-wrought alien culture make this an enjoyable romp for both science fiction and detective story fans. Agent: Eleanor Wood, Spectrum Literary. (Nov.)