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The Department of Off World Affairs Hardcover – October 1, 2008
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A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at beyond the speed of light. The beacons are built to be robust. They never fail. At least, they aren't supposed to. Learn more
About the Author
He published his first novel, Iota Cycle, in 2006. The tale of interstellar colonization won the DIY Festival award for Best Science Fiction Novel, and a New York Book Festival Honorable Mention for Science Fiction.
Lutz lives and works in Seattle.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Well, if you want smart, sci-fi for the 21st century, Russell Lutz's new novel, The Department of Off World Affairs is for you. Though I mentioned above some of the pillars of the golden age of science fiction, Lutz's new book succeeds because he manages to capture the intrepid and adventurous spirit of these older works, while still remaining relevant and connected to the very human issues that surround our lives.
Being a fan of Iota Cycle, the format of The Department of Off World Affairs was recognizable immediately. It would be incorrect to say that DOWA is a thematic or spiritual off-shoot of the previous book, however, because many of the similarities end there, and DOWA represents a huge leap forward in Lutz's skill and craft.
Instead of following generations of humans over the course of several decades this story follows essentially a handful of central characters over the course of only a few years. I found that change alone to be strengthening of the narrative cohesiveness, but I was additionally surprised by Lutz stepping far outside the lines he previously drew with Iota Cycle and tackling a complex characterization throughline that involved one man, two women, a starship, and a diverse cast of completely-realized alien "visitors".Read more ›
I thought it was a well-written and interesting take on first contact. Or, first contacts in this case! It caught my interest right away and I read it straight through. The descriptions of the aliens weren't as in-depth as I'd wished for, but still enough information was given to make them interesting. What I liked most about the novel was that neither the humans nor the aliens by and large fell into the typical stereotypes. Good/Evil, All-Out War-mongers/Complete Pushovers, whatever. The interactions were much more nuanced than that.
I hope to see more novels like this from this author!