Cover Image: A Debt to the Stars

A Debt to the Stars

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Member Reviews

Such a great book! I wanted humankind to survive until the very end (although, I didn't feel they deserve it). I love the way you write and I would love to read the sequel. The MC never really liked her nickname and although she asked to be called like that, I think it will bring consequences. I would like to know if those are good or bad. Either of those outcomes would be really interesting.
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Ah. That was different. If you are looking for space fiction and find this one because of the title and cover, think again. Oh, yes, it's science fiction, but in a whole different way. When this started I got vibes of early Heinlein, which was good, but that comparison didn't necessarily continue.

Imagine, if you can, a science fiction novel that centers around the idea that the universe is actually run based on economic principles. There I said it. And I actually did not like my college economics courses years ago.

But, in the long run, I actually enjoyed Diana's "big adventure", which is actually most of her life, but this book centers on mostly her life after 60. Coming from a family reknown for its scientific achievements, Diana is actually most skilled in economics. In the beginning of the book, she and her team are attempting to reach the bottom of the Mariana Trench, because she feels a family obligation to "do science". While she is down there, the outside world is visited by hundreds of spaceships; the Earth is never the same and neither is Diana. Short intro- life becomes much simpler for everyone, but Diana is the only person that is still aging. And so, the real adventure begins thirty years later. The "aliens" are interesting and Diana is courageous and there's lots of action. I enjoyed following along with Diana and Robert as they attempt to "save the world." But... economics?

I'm not sure I'll read any sequel, but this actually became a fine diversion for a couple of days. I do think others would enjoy the trip; others would find it all completely confusing. To each his own...
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This book was so incredibly silly I struggle with writing a meaningful review. It was okay, I laughed a few times, but I am unsure if I was supposed to. The stakes went so ridiculously high and impossible by the end I couldn't take it seriously.
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3/5 Stars
This one was fun. I would definitely read more from this author though I had some issues with the worldbuilding in this title. I received an ARC of this work through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. All thoughts and opinions in this review are my own.
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*Thank you to NetGalley and Kevin Hincker for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review.*

The political side of the story wasn't so bad for me, as the execution. Ok, hear me out. It's not that I hated it, it's more that I didn't love it. It started out good, but I lost interest pretty soon and I had to DNF it. That's a shame because the premise was really good. The info dump in the first chapter with the characters that I didn't know was not good.
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Will probably be the one of the few books I didn’t finish. It started off understandable but quickly got so muddled. I got so confused with places, the dialogue and just got to the point where I was just plain  lost. I wanted to finish it just to finish it but unfortunately I just could not get into it. 
Thank you netey for giving me a copy of this book
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A well written novel and completely enjoyable.  It's an interesting premise and I think the author did a very good job at developing both character and situation and did a pretty good job with world building showing the changes that would happen as mentioned in the description of the book.  And look forward to Future offerings by this author
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First, I have to start out by saying, this is by far the most interesting and strange alien invasion Sci-fi, kind of story.  That said, It totally worked for me.  I loved this book.  The characters really brought the story to life.

Diana is an incredible human.  I loved how she had all these demons that had her distancing herself from everyone and everything around her, yet still, she engendered feelings of love and a desire to want to protect from those around her.

Robert was amazing.  He was by far my favorite, with his mouth like a sailor's.  Makes you wonder where he even learned to speak so vulgarly.  Yet, it made him endearing, not to mention funny as hell.  The villains were threatening enough, though I really wish we had seen more suffering on their part.  They did cause quite a bit of trouble.

The tech babble in Sci-fi can sometimes be overwhelming.  This one didn't disappoint, yet that babble is not what you'd expect it to be, which made the entire story very refreshing.  Andy Wier once said, "Readers will forgive you for any deep techno babble if you make them laugh.", and Hincker did not disappoint there.  

I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for Sci-fi with a bit of a twist.  I eagerly await the second installment of the saga.
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I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. While the premise was interesting I didn’t connect with the characters or the story in a meaningful manner. Some books just aren’t for us, and that’s alright.
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Science fiction regularly abuses science or ignores it altogether. You might think physics is the most ill-used discipline, but you’re wrong. It’s just the easiest to spot. What really takes it on the chin is economics, the dismal science. Wait! Don’t run away…this won’t hurt at all. In fact, thanks to Kevin Hincker’s new book, A Debt to the Stars, it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Aliens show up in massive spaceships, then just as quickly disappear from the skies. But in their wake, they leave mankind two gifts, obelisks that will produce any item you want, and an end to aging, disease, and injury. Whenever anyone offers me something for free, I always tell them I can’t afford it, because as Heinlein told us long ago, There Aint No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. What all the happy humans don’t know is that someone mortgaged the planet to the hilt, and the payment is about to come due. Only one woman has the power to do anything about it, and she’s faced with nothing but bad choices. Fortunately for humanity, she’s also Earth’s greatest financial wizard.

I was afraid this book would get overlooked, but Kirkus made it a starred review, Publishers Weekly made it a Booklife Editors Pick, and yours truly makes it Highly Recommended — So go read it and leave reviews everywhere you can.
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A Debt to the Stars by Kevin Hincker, 286 pages. Kevin Hincker, 2023. $17.
Language: R (144 swears, 201 “f”); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: PG13
Diana’s pet project is about to send two people where humans have never been before: the bottom of the Mariana Trench. But last minute problems nearly cancel everything, which would delay the entire project another year. Diana replaces one of the two people selected to go, and she insists on moving forward today, even when her team on land informs them that alien ships have arrived.
Hincker makes the absolutely ridiculous sound possible in Diana’s story. Sentient vegetables, greedy alien bankers, and intergalactical economics—including explanations that went way over my head. Though there are a couple of lingering questions that entice readers to look forward to the sequel, I will not be subjecting myself to skimming over more explanations that will not make sense due to my lack of economic studies. The happy ending of this first book is satisfactory for me.
Diana is depicted as White on the cover, Sanjana has “olive” skin, Robert is described as “vaguely Asian,” and the text mentions various skin tones in other characters. The mature content rating is for mentions of alcohol, drugs, genitalia, and masturbation as well as for nudity. The violence rating is for blood and gore, mentions of guns, self harm, attempted suicide, murder, and fantasy violence.
Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen
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First I’d like to point out the stunning cover! Love it!

Short and sweet. I went into this book not knowing much of what it was about and so it took me a bit to understand what all was going on. Then things for very interesting with the aliens and their humor. About halfway through the book Things slowed down while a whole economic lesson was given. In the last third, things go down and it gets very interesting. 

Thanks Netgalley for this book in exchange for an honest review.
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This is one of those books where the execution doesn't live up to the premise. I liked the idea behind this and aspects of the main character. However, it just fell flat to me. The jokes were trying too hard, the economics aspect was over the top, the majority of relationships felt underdeveloped. I feel like re-editing could really benefit this book.
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A Debt to the Stars, is an interesting take on a political Sci-fi. It is decently technical but not so much that it detracts from the book. The story follows Diana Roark who missed contact with Aliens due to being on a near fatal drop to the ocean floor. When she returns she is the only human left who can get sick or age. Now much older she teams up with Robert, a sarcastic foul mouthed alien to save the world. 
This book was definitely a bit out of my comfort zone with in Sci-Fi as I tend to read more fantastical takes on Planetary Sci-fi  or Space Operas, this wasn't really either. Over all the book is well written and would fit in better with someone that would enjoy a more political based book,
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This was a really interesting look at the future of the earth's economy. I liked that there were some new ideas, but it was also sort of funny to read about the blockchain after the complete collapse of two major crypto trading platforms. I liked the characters and the world that was created in the book and would be interested in seeing where Hinckler goes from here.
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A big thanks to NetGalley and Kevin Hincker for providing an eARC for review.

I just guess I'm on a sci-fy kick, but I hate to say it this wasn't what I was quite looking for or expecting.

A Debt to the Stars by Kevin Hinker is science fiction novel that follows Diana Rorak, trying to live up to her father's name and knack for solving the impossible. Which is what ultimately leads to her being on bio-prospecting mission in Earth’s deepest ocean while literal aliens invade Earth. (Really defeats the fun of, where were you when aliens invaded?) When Diana resurfaces after nearly dying, she finds the aliens and everyone acting really weird. In the sense that no one is aging, and all of their needs are being met with the help of obelisks left by the aliens. Thirty years pass, and Diana is the only one showing the weathering of years, and the aliens return to attack. And Diana is the only capable of stopping them. 

I really wanted to like this book. I really wanted to love it. But I blame most of my love going to Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray, which I read a book sooner than this one. Along with Star Splitter by Matthew J. Kirby. Those two set my expectations in certain ways, with Defy the Stars exceeding them and Star Splitter undermining them. Which preemptively set this book up to be either an utter flop or a fan favorite. And thankfully, it just fell in the middle.

A Debt to the Stars had a great story and scrappy protagonist that I loved to cheer on, but it lacked some character in it's worldbuilding. The beginning was overly confusing, and lead to a bad taste in my mouth that lasted for the rest of novel. Though the comeback was in the Hincker's amazing characterizations of both Diana and Robert. I feel like they carried most of the story, and I am all the happy for it. I do kinda wish Robert would have swore a bit less.
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A Debt to the Stars is a self-published novel that is competently written. However, I believe it could've greatly benefitted from someone reining in the author's excesses and reminding them to focus on their strengths. As for its genre, it's a science fiction comedy thriller. There's aliens, fantastical technology, mysterious happenings, a foulmouthed comedic relief companion, villainous caricatures, blockchain explanations, financial dealings, lip service romance, and much that may be allegorical and/or ideological. Several have compared it to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which is a decent comparison. That's not all it is though, and its lack of focus may have been to its detriment. Aside from the occasional infodumps about cryptocurrency, blockchain, financial dealings and similar, which were mildly reminiscent of the sort in Snow Crash, though not nearly done as well, this is mostly an action adventure thriller. As for the characters, well, they exist. The comedic companion carries a heavy load in that regard. The protagonist is mostly to drive the narrative forward.

The book also has some social science fiction aspects, mostly resulting from which the aliens provided to humanity. Augmentation and the obelisks alleviate the need for much, as humans no longer become senescent, gain regenerative capabilities, and have all their basic needs provided for. From a human perspective, it's a very robust welfare state, or even Luxury Communism. This is depicted as having been disastrous for humanity, which perhaps it could be, but I find the specifics presented here to be implausible. It reminded me in some ways of Brave New World or Childhood's End. Unfortunately, this is mostly reduced to that those born before Augmentation become obsessives and those afterwards are fearless, ignorant, and unproductive unless raised properly from birth. The antagonists are the capitalists, both of the human and alien variety. The human antagonist organization is very much a caricature, or satire, of market fundamentalist beliefs. Their goal is world domination to restore the capitalist regime and bring scarcity back to the world. The alien capitalists are more predatory, financially speaking.

This is the first book in an intended series. It's not my sort of comedy, the social aspects were disagreeable and implausible within their context, the economics were often nonsensical, and the ending was unacceptable in its plot convenience. Those who can ignore the details will probably enjoy this more than me. I can easily imagine a version of this book that I would've enjoyed much more. I hope the author heeds what seems to be the consensus opinion about what works and doesn't. The second may be far more pleasing to a wider audience by doing so. 

I received this book from the author through NetGalley.

Rating: 2.5/5
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3-3.5 stars
This was such an interesting ride! This follows Diana Roark, 30 years after first contact with an alien race that left behind mysterious obelisks that generated whatever you could want and stopped humans from aging for everyone except for Diana, who was on a science mission at the bottom of the ocean when contact was made. Now, as an aging and ill 60-year-old and the richest person on the planet full of humans that no longer need anything, she's ready to call it quits and go on a vacation. But just as she is ready to leave her millions behind she learns of two things: a plot to destroy the obelisks and bring back capitalism to humanity, and something more nefarious about the aliens that brought them to Earth in the first place. 
This was a fun read and definitely different from other science fiction that I've read. I thought the world-building was excellent and there was some interesting setup and backstory that I'm assuming (and hoping) will be explored in the sequel, I would love to see more of Robert, I thought he was great and provided good comedic relief.
I rated this 3-3.5 because sometimes it felt a bit repetitive in the story, and the dialogue gets a bit circular like the same questions are being asked with the same answers so the story stalls, especially when Diana first meets Jianguo and Landerson, they just keep repeating over and over instead of giving any new information. The pacing at times was also a bit erratic and at times it was a bit of an info dump (literally at one point but Robert made it better). There was some other things I would have liked explored more but I'll wait for the sequel!
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Great quirky read. I found the premise really interesting. Aliens come and “gift” Earth with obelisks that give everyone perfect health and all the food they want. What if you were the only one who didn’t get augmented and therefore are the only one who gets sick and ages? What happens to your friendships? And what do you do when the aliens return and you realise they are more like Ferengis than Vulcans? (Okay, different universe but you get my drift) 
This story skims the surface of many deep subjects like love and loss, parents, friends and lovers. But it’s also a crash course in cryptocurrency and high finance. Robert has quite the potty mouth. It does express his exasperation perfectly but definitely not my preference. The author had lots of room to be inventive with Alien swear words that would be inoffensive to his human audience. 
Entertaining, lots of new aliens. Thanks NetGalley for a free copy in exchange for an honest review. Highly recommend but with a language warning.
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This is quite good and has a lot of potential of finding an audience. It ticks a lot of boxes for entertaining scifi, and I look forward to Hinker's future work!

I really appreciate the free copy for review!!
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