Description: Xenophobia is set in Malawi, Africa, with US soldiers acting as peacekeepers to stop a civil war erupting. When an alien spacecraft arrives in orbit, America is thrown into turmoil and US troops are withdrawn from hotspots around the globe to provide support at home. Malawi descends into chaos.
Xenophobia follows a band of US Rangers that stay behind to get doctors and patients from an outlying field hospital to safety. When hundreds of alien spacecraft begin flying overhead, the dynamics of war take on an entirely new dimension.
Review 5 of 5 Stars
This was a great first contact story, I really enjoyed it and it was accurately named. It was gritty, sweaty, realistic and moved at a good pace. I mentioned in another review recently that I like a story that can be introspective without sacrificing excitement and action and was glad to see that this story had managed to do just that. I also like a story that requires you to think and I wasn’t disappointed in that area either. Xenophobia certainly delivered by investigating not only our fears of strange or alien things from outside our galaxy, but also how we fear and treat one another due to those same irrational fears of things and persons unknown though we may only be from different countries rather than different planets.
There are several characters in this book, but Bower, a doctor who stays behind to care for her patients that need to be transported, and Elvis (nickname, not a resurrection lol), one of a group of US soldiers that volunteers to stay behind to protect them, are the mains for most of the story and they were both interesting travel companions. I thought the aliens were really cool and well thought out and I loved the journey as a whole. It was nice to get away from the Hollywood action movie clichés about what first contact will be where the aliens are generally hell-bent on eating, killing or in some other way making us subservient. I also liked that the book looked at how we treat one another and what types of behavior might be expected given a first contact situation on Earth.
Peter Cawdron has a great perspective on the world and it definitely comes through in his stories like a fresh gust of air. Each story I’ve read by Mr. Cawdron has been better than the last both technically and in overall storytelling. I’m just glad I got to take this trip through reading rather than stomping the road these characters traveled. Though that last part would have been pretty wonderful, but I dare not say too much. If you like a smart story that challenges you to look beyond what we see everyday then I think you would enjoy this one as much as I did.