Pub Date 18 Jun 2019
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They Will Teach Us The Lesson All Creatures Must Learn.
Cadwell Turnbull's debut science fiction novel, THE LESSON, explores the nature of belief, the impact of colonialism, and asks how far are we willing to go for progress? Breaking ground as one of the first science fiction novels set in the Virgin Islands, THE LESSON is not only a thought-provoking literary work, delving deeply into allegorical themes of colonialism, but also vividly draws the community of Charlotte Amalie, wherefrom the author hails.
An alien ship rests over Water Island. For five years the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands have lived with the Ynaa, a race of super-advanced aliens on a research mission they will not fully disclose. They are benevolent in many ways but meet any act of aggression with disproportional wrath. This has led to a strained relationship between the Ynaa and the local Virgin Islanders and a peace that cannot last. A year after the death of a young boy at the hands of an Ynaa, three families find themselves at the center of the inevitable conflict, witness and victim to events that will touch everyone and teach a terrible lesson.
A Note From the Publisher
**Included in The Verge's Most Anticipated Science Fiction and Fantasy Books**
**Among B&N SFF's 25 Science Fiction & Fantasy Debuts That Will Transform Your 2019**
**A Publishers Weekly Pick of Top 10 Books for Spring 2019 in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror**
"The canon of science fiction brims with first contact stories, but rarely do those stories draw such strong and poignant parallels to humanity's history of colonialism as Cadwell Turnbull's extraordinary debut, The Lesson... some of the most memorable scenes in a work of science fiction in recent memory."
“Turnbull is a rising star in the science fiction and fantasy world.”
"Turnbull has been compared to Octavia Butler, and in his case I think the observation is a valid one. The Lesson isn't just a serious, important book-it's also a fun and rewarding one."
-Analog Science Fiction and Fact Magazine
“Emotional prose and distinctive characters highlight an incredible story that will touch readers’ hearts and minds. A compelling tale of invasive occupation and emotional uprising, Turnbull’s debut is complex and enthralling. It’s a must for all libraries, and the writer, who crafts speculative stories with black characters on par with Octavia Butler, is definitely one to watch.”
-Library Journal (Starred review)
"Several residents of St. Thomas weather the storms of life before and after the occupation of the alien species Ynaa in Turnbull's rich debut novel about family, love, and loyalty in turbulent times...Turnbull uses a beautifully drawn cast of black characters to convey the complexity of ordinary hardship in extraordinary times. This is an ideal story for fans of Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven and other literary science fiction novels."
-Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
“Cadwell Turnbull paints a stunningly intricate portrait of humanity, capturing hopes and dreams, flaws and failings with remarkable depth and texture. The Lesson is a blast to read and a meaningful exploration of the bearing of colonialism and the perils of human ambition.”
-Sylvain Neuvel, author of The Test and the Themis Files trilogy
"I came for the aliens and a war of the worlds. I stayed for the deadpan St. Thomas humor, the complicated, charming, sexy island folk, and Turnbull's delicious prose. He may not only be a new voice in sci-fi, but also a major new name in Caribbean-American literature."
-Wilton Barnhardt, New York Times bestselling author of Lookaway, Lookaway
"The Lesson is a welcomed addition to the new wave of Virgin Islands literature. The plot is smooth and exciting, the polemics are subtle but smart, and the characters are heartfelt."
-Tiphanie Yanique, author of Land of Love and Drowning
“A compelling and layered narrative that explores colonialism and our messy human flaws through a diverse and painfully real cast of characters. The Lesson is smart, full of dry wit and creeping dread—a unique and artful debut.”
-M. K. England, author of The Disasters
“Cadwell Turnbull’s The Lesson brings an alien invasion to St. Thomas with a breadth that encompasses the past, present, and future. As his well-drawn characters wrestle with interspecies challenges, Turnbull imparts lessons that both embrace and transcend culture and race to drive at the heart of what it means to be human.”
-Tananarive Due, American Book Award winner, executive producer of Horror Noire
"In The Lesson Cadwell Turnbull, by setting his story in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, makes something completely new of the old theme of humans' first contact with superior aliens. Putting these "colonizing aliens" in a place shaped by colonialism opens new perspectives on issues of race and culture and sex and exploitation. But the true wonder of this novel is its beautifully realized portrayal of Charlotte Amalie and its deeply human and complex characters, young and old, all of them transformed by the arrival of the ambiguously motivated Ynaa. It's a story of mystery, romance, tragedy, and redemption. Like Octavia Butler and Ursula K. Le Guin before him, Turnbull uses the tools of science fiction to illuminate the human heart. The Lesson stands at the beginning of what I expect to be a long and illustrious career."
-John Kessel, Nebula Award-winning author of The Moon and the Other and Pride and Prometheus
“[A] bold and provocative debut…On the island of St. Thomas, a family collides with intergalactic meddlers, stranding two lovers with souls in distant worlds. A forbidding panoply of colonial mischief.”
-Kris Lackey, USA Today bestselling author of Nail’s Crossing
- National broadcast and print media campaign
- National review / debut author attention from reviewers/journalists
- Major bookseller merchandising / co-op
- National Author Tour
- Social media and digital/print advertising campaign
- Featured title/author at library, bookseller, and consumer trade shows and conferences, including LJ Day of Dialogue (debut panel), BookExpo/BookCon, and ALA appearances.
- College marketing push and author appearances
- THE LESSON has been optioned by AMC.