Detail from the cover of ‘Izanami’s Choice.’

Adam Heine’s Sci-Fi Debut Is Short on Pages, Long on Ideas

A samurai battles robots in a compelling new novella from a Seattle press.

“Life moves fast—books should too,” promises a promotional website for mega-bestselling author James Patterson’s new line of branded mini-novels. BookShots are Patterson’s take on the genre novella, a slick package intended to appeal to Twitter-friendly attention spans. BookShots.com promises that each of the thrillers and romances under the BookShot umbrella will be “Under 150 pages. Under $5. Impossible to put down”—and in case the breathless copy doesn’t get the point across, the site features a 30-second ad featuring a Patrick Bateman-looking young man being chased through the streets of a big city as he reads a BookShot.

Honestly, BookShots are a terrific idea. The genre novella is an underappreciated form that stretches back to pulp magazines of the 1920s and ’30s—the age of serialized heroes like Doc Savage and The Spider and midcentury sci-fi novelists like Hubbard and Heinlein. These are books that introduced protagonists quickly, solved a succession of problems with a rat-a-tat rhythm, and then resolved situations neatly. If you’re looking for something cheap and fun and light for your summer vacation, a BookShot-sized read would be just the thing. Read the rest of this review in Seattle Weekly’s print edition or online at The Seattle Review of Books.

Paul Constant is the co-founder of The Seattle Review of Books. Read daily books coverage like this at seattlereviewofbooks.com.

More in Arts & Culture

Alvvays brings its dreamy Canadian indie pop to the Capitol Hill Block Party Main Stage. Photo by Arden Wray
Capitol Hill Block Party 2018 Picks

Who to see at this year’s edition of Seattle’s urban music fest.

Kayla (Elsie Fisher) stays glued to her screens in ‘Eighth Grade.’ Photo by Linda Kallerus/A24
Embracing the Naturalistic Awkwardness of ‘Eighth Grade’

Writer/director Bo Burnham and star Elsie Fisher discuss making and living one of the year’s best films.

Illustration by Taylor Dow
Let It Linger

Between two eclipses, this is a week for rest.

The Midwestern tale of <em>Sweet Land</em> makes its West Coast premiere at Taproot Theatre. Photo by Erik Stuhaug
This Land Was Made for You and Me

Taproot’s ‘Sweet Land, the Musical’ doesn’t fully capture the mood of 1920s Minnesota farmland, but still manages to charm.

Golden Goal

On the Seventh Day takes an atypical sports movie approach while addressing immigrant issues.

Illustration by Taylor Dow
Meltdown and Remold

Pluto intensifies a solar eclipse in Cancer.

Young Feet and Old Steps

‘DANCE This’ connects young performers with their peers and their cultural traditions of movement.

Most Read