'Exit, Pursued by a Bee' by Geoff Nelder

'Exit, Pursued by a Bee' by Geoff Nelder

A newly published novel by a British author, 'Exit, Pursued by a Bee' is set in the near future (a manned mission to Mars is ready to go) against a background of a bizarre series of events. Giant silvery spheres nearly 80 metres in diameter slowly emerge from the ground at Glastonbury Tor and several other widely-spaced locations around the world. They prove oblivious to all attempts to communicate with them and immune to efforts to attack them, and gradually float away from the surface. As they do, a series of timeslips begins to occur: people find themselves suddenly back in history, or caught up in catastrophes as structures partially disappear from the present. Sometimes time is locally "rewound", and a series of events is replayed with a different result.

Caught up in the middle of this and trying to make sense of it is Kallandra, a NASA astronaut, variously aided and obstructed by her fiancé Derek, a rocket engineer, and the dangerously tempting fellow astronaut Claude. Further problems come from a sensation-seeking journalist and a US General whose preferred solution to any problem is to nuke it. Chaotic events accumulate and conclude in a long-distance chase using the Mars spaceship to try to undo the damage being done.

This is a generally light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek romp which races along engagingly, although a couple of tragedies slightly darken the mood later on. Not for those who look for portentous dramas, explorations of advanced physics or serious consideration of the problems of society. The emphasis is on escapist entertainment, and at that it succeeds very well.

(This entry is cross-posted from my science-fiction & fantasy blog.)
Thanks for the review, Tony.
I'm not sure you caught the underlying nuances but I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Another reviewer found other aspects to make comments:

Exit, Pursued by a Bee by Geoff Nelder
Review by M. Kenyon Charboneaux,
Editor of Eros et Thanatos; author of Cri du Couer, Blood Kiss, 8 City Tales

I don't read what passes for science fiction these days - just because you set a story on another planet or in the future, it's not science fiction unless it contains a solid base of hard science. And Nelder delivers. Not just the science, but a fascinating story, complex and likable characters and of course, his trademark original thinking and clear, pristine writing.

Exit was so good I finished it in an afternoon. Lugged it to the doctor's office even, so I could keep reading it, in the car coming and going, read it in the waiting room, read it in those little rooms they put you in before uttering the lie that "The doctor will be right with you."

When it comes to hard science, he knows his stuff. When it comes to writing, he REALLY knows his stuff! Kallandra is a wonderful role model for women, though I don't suppose he thought of her that way. I didn't until I had to sit down and do this review. The novel is too entertaining to think things like that while reading it, those thinking brain cells only kick in when you step aside from the book and start thinking about it that such thoughts begin to emerge.

And you will keep thinking about it, long after you finished it. It's a keeper. It's a "can't put it down" story of both mysterious spheres on Earth and a Mars Mission, to boot. Exit is a well-balanced, well-written, fast-paced adrenalin rush for both you and the characters. I'm not about to give out any spoilers here, but I will say that Time is one of my fascinations and reading Exit, Nelder made me think about our notions of time and space, of life in spacecrafts.

And ah, those spheres.

I have only one question : Nelder, How did you manage to destroy Glastonbury Tor without ending up, like Rushdie, with a price on your head? Well, don't worry. That powerful and entertaining gem of a story with humor, blended in a perfect balance with adrenalin, love with sex and an all 'round fascinating, original story.

All I really needed to say was : Nelder, you've done it again and even better than last time. But what author wants a one line review, eh? Bravo, Nelder!