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The Department of Off World Affairs Hardcover – October 1, 2008

5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Russell Lutz began his publishing career in the 2000s with several short stories, among them "Fall", which won the Best Short Story award in 2005 from SFFWorld.com. "Athens 3004" was part of the anthology volume Silverthought: Ignition in the same year.

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.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 488 pages
  • Publisher: Silverthought Press (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0981519172
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981519173
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,168,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mark R. Brand on October 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
When was the last time that hard sci-fi was fun? Not just slick, neat, clever, ironic, sarcastic, satirical, deep, witty, or entertaining, but genuinely fun. Was it as far back as the original Star Wars trilogy for you? Even further back? Was it as far back as Lost In Space comic books, Star Trek television reruns, or the visionary novels of space-faring cultures from the 50's and 60's?

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".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Cartmel on August 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
A novel about "Them" discovering us with every variety of alien and how we respond to them, with all but a few being "good" aliens. The concept is very interesting but as a book it feels more like a string of short stories than a coherent novel. Might well make an excellent [if expensive] tv series! Maybe thats what the author has in mind all along
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christine on May 14, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was looking for a new alien contact novel, something along the lines of Rebecca Ore's Tom Red-Clay trilogy or Terry Dowling's Wormwood and decided to give this a try when it came up in my search.

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!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm not a huge fan of science fiction, but I am a huge fan of good writing, and Russell Lutz is my new discovery. Everything in this story is believable because the people in it are real. The prose and the wit in the storytelling assured me that I was in the hands of a masterful writer. Highly recommended.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By dreamweaver on October 14, 2008
Format: Kindle Edition
I'm a fan of science fiction from time to time. I found this book to be enjoyable and thought provoking.
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