This is perhaps the weirdest and most shame-faced Cannonball I will ever write (I hope) but I read this back in March after hearing the author speak at ComicCon and mention the work, and I’m writing in June. As such, I can hardly remember anything about it. There’s no mention of this on the author’s Wikipedia, I had to check the Audible listing to make sure I had it right. I vaguely remember something about first contact with aliens, or rather, first sign that aliens exist? As I write this I maybe remember that there’s contact with an alien piece of technology, but actually I think that was a Blake Crouch…
Wait I remember now! There’s an alien signal, and it’s picking up the broadcast of an adult who furiously communicated with a “pen pal” on the other side of her radio when she was a child. The pen pal was an alien, and due to the physics of space travel it’s taken this long for the alien to act on her whims. Naturally, the whims of a bullied child are unkind, and a lot of people die.
I vaguely remember enjoying this, but given how little I can say about it that might be all you need to know. It’s an Audible Original which means it reads like a radio play, and honestly that’s pretty awesome. I enjoy listening to old radio plays and this is a fun way to return to that form.
Sylvain Neuvel is an outstanding writer and even though this didn’t do it for me you should find some of his other stuff. I recommend Sleeping Giants to start: it’s one of my favorite sci-fi novels of the past couple years, and it fittingly is written in the radio play style. I recommend the Audible because they get a different actor for every voice and it makes for a fun and unique experience.