A Debt to the Stars

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Pub Date May 01 2023 | Archive Date Aug 31 2023

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Diana Roark didn’t begin life as the richest person in human history. All she ever wanted to do was solve impossible problems—like her father had. She's on a dangerous bio-prospecting mission in Earth’s deepest ocean when aliens orbit to make First Contact, and she surfaces after a near fatal accident to find the aliens gone, and every human alive Augmented—except for her. After Augmentation humanity no longer ages, and all basic needs are dispensed free from alien Obelisks, creating a cascade of economic failure around the globe. When Diana invests everything to stabilize Earth's finances, she ends up the richest person in human history, though she is still the only human alive who ages. And then, after thirty years, the aliens return. Only this time they’re not feeling generous. They’ve come to take the planet, and the only person standing in their way is Diana.

Diana Roark didn’t begin life as the richest person in human history. All she ever wanted to do was solve impossible problems—like her father had. She's on a dangerous bio-prospecting mission in...

Advance Praise

“…a journey of healing and heroism …thought-provoking SF....” - Kirkus Review (starred review)

“…uproarious scifi that gets readers thinking.” - Publishers Weekly (Booklife Editor’s Pick)

“…a journey of healing and heroism …thought-provoking SF....” - Kirkus Review (starred review)

“…uproarious scifi that gets readers thinking.” - Publishers Weekly (Booklife Editor’s Pick)

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ISBN 9798987630105
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Average rating from 39 members

Featured Reviews

Diana Roark, CEO of Roark Pharmaceuticals, wasn't supposed to be part of her company's bioprospecting crew, but a last minute complication prompts Diana to step in and pilot the submarine herself rather than scrub the entire mission. While she's miles below sea, alien ships invade earth to Augment humanity with technology that leaves them impervious to pain and aging, and provides all basic needs for free. Diana surfaces to a world where she alone has escaped Augmentation. When the aliens return to Earth thirty years later, an aging Diana uncovers a conspiracy that could destroy the planet - and only she can stop it.

Fast paced with a scrappy protagonist, there is a ton of action packed into this novel. It's refreshing to see an older woman as the protagonist. The first half of the book has some humor to it, but the fun really ramps up when the aliens come into the picture - I definitely get a Douglas Adams vibe! I wish the return of the aliens had happened a little sooner in the book, because that was what really hooked me, but overall I enjoyed this book and recommend it.

Thank you NetGalley and the publishers for the digital galley in exchange for an honest review.

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the cover was what drew me in and I'm so glad I got to read this. It was a great concept for a scifi element and worked well with the description. The characters did everything that I was looking for and I enjoyed getting to meet them. Kevin Hincker does a great job in telling the story and creating a unique concept.

"She remembered limping off the grounds as the stars appeared, down a stone staircase gritty and bowled from centuries of traffic and through a pale gate in a low stucco wall. Then the two of them had followed a road, straight as a ruled line, toward the PopuPod border in the distance, at every step being erased from the mesh."

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A Debt to the Stars, by Kevin Hincker

Funny! Fast-moving! Strong and confident female protagonist starts with an ocean-trench submarine dive, and then takes us for a romp through alien invaders and economics theory.

This story started as an adventure with lots of potential, so I buckled up to enjoy the ride. The pace is fast, without lingering for much character development, but this matches the tongue-in-cheek humour and unexpected plot twists. Full of delightfully preposterous scenarios from this author's unconventional imagination. For example, if you suddenly find yourself inside a swiftly-moving alien organism, are you being protected, transported or digested? This author's style reminds me of vintage SF author Harry Harrison, another fast and funny writer.

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Starting out with this story, I was worried I’d be overwhelmed by financial/economic/capitalist terms and ideas. That actually didn’t happen thank goodness, and I loved this fun and original sci-fi adventure! Most things were explained, easily looked up, or I could just skim over if they were too abstract.

Initially captivated by the stunning cover art, I wanted to learn more about Diana and how she supposedly saved Earth (more than once). She was such a fascinating character, and even though she was elderly and sickly, she had so much soul and sassiness. She felt she was broken, but I really admired her drive and ambition.

The excerpts from the Book of Ω64 were something I skipped over, I get now their purpose and who was writing them, but they transcend my meaner non-economical mind.

Roger had me actually cackling out loud! He was definitely my second favourite entity in the story. I would love to see more of him in any future entries into the series.

“I don’t need a best friend.”
“Bullshit. Everybody needs a best friend.” “My best friends always die.”
“That’s totally a left turn, but I’m really sorry, that’s…”
“I killed one of them myself.”

His rapport with Diana was definitely a highlight for me & his pod shrouds were adorable.

I can honestly say this book really got it’s hooks into me from the get go and the world building, aliens, alien tech, army of economists, the plot (basically everything) kept me on the line.

Thank you so much to the author & NetGalley for a copy!

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The grandchild of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, not focusing on OuterSpace bureaucracy, but the economy. When I started I was afraid this was going to be a downer, there was a very classic feel to the book, a little like societal warnings like 1984 or Barjavel's work... but I was wrong, very wrong when the book did quite a turn around at about the 40% mark.
I sincerely didn't expect to be entertained with blockchain SciFi, but this was good, very good, even if the humour was a little heavy in some places. I loved the strong friendships, the drive, the fast pace. Written like a thriller with massive stakes, this is a quick read which ends up asking interesting questions about capitalism, with a smile.

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4.5/5 stars! First off, the cover of this story was stunning. It set the tone for an exciting science fiction book. I really liked this book. It was so unique and Diana and Robert become some of the cutest and funniest characters I’ve read in a long time. I loved the humor in this story and cackled out loud several times. I’m not sure if I’d read this as a series, but enjoyed it as a change of pace from my normal read.

I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving a review

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I was at loose ends and looking at books to read when I stumbled on A Debt to the Stars. The cover caught my eye and then other reviews.

I am not normally one for humorous SF. I read and laughed at the first Hitchhiker's book but never finished the second. Several reviews compared this novel to Hitchhiker's and I decided to read it despite, not because of, that.

I read it in one sitting finishing it in the early hours of the morning.

So I evidently liked it a lot.

The writing is more than competent. The villains genuinely frightening (both the human and alien villains). The main character is not particularly likeable but is interesting in many ways both emotional and physical.

The reasons I award four, instead of five, stars are two. The first was some effective, emotional string pulling regarding secondary characters - but the strings were too prominent. The second was a decision the main character made near the end that still makes no sense to me. If I ever meet the author I will ask about it. I am prepared to believe I just missed a good explanation since I was reading in the early AM at that point. But thinking of it now I still can't come up with one.

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Hard to put down and endlessly enjoyable! The only problem I had was with the economic technobabble, which would have been worse if I wasn’t a lawyer. The technobabble still made my eyes cross in places, so while I’m dying for the next book, I recommend the author needs to dumb it down more than he has.

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The author, Kevin Hincker, has done a fantastic job of creating a unique and engaging concept that is both humorous and entertaining. The first half of the book is lighthearted and sets the stage for the later, more intense action. Hincker's writing is effective in creating a sense of urgency and tension, making it difficult to put the book down. The characters are well-developed, and it's refreshing to see an older woman as the protagonist.

The cover art is eye-catching, and the book lives up to the hype. I really liked the villains, they scared me, and the emotional pull of secondary characters is effective, even if at times, it feels too overt. The decision made by the main character towards the end of the book leaves some questions unanswered, but overall, this is an excellent read for anyone who enjoys sci-fi, action, and a bit of humor.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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