Tag Archives: luminous and ominous

Verdict? Luminous and Ominous, by Noah K. Mullette-Gillman

3 Jan

There’s nothing fun about the end of the world–but there might be something beautiful.

The alien “invaders” of this unique science fictionish novel are exactly what the title tells us, Luminous and Ominous, a ravenous plant species with a mesmerizing beauty and a will to live as strong–or perhaps stronger–than any human survivor.  And therein lies the problem for our protagonists: not just surviving in a new world, but preserving their very sense of what it means to be alive, and be human.

I’m a bigger fan of Noah K. Mullette-Gillman’s second novel than I was of the first (and I’m a pretty big fan).  The writing is as mesmerizing as the beautiful alien Cornucopia Blue it describes, and the characters’ thoughts and struggles pull readers along with them just as surely.

Reading Time: On the Kindle, Luminous and Ominous is a little over 5,000 locations, which would make it 500+ pages in the physical world.  But how long it takes to read?  I’m hardly competent to say–it took me a weekend: I couldn’t put it down.

Recommendation: It’s 2011, and apocalypse scenarios haven’t been so popular since Y2K.  So let’s not pigeonhole Luminous and Ominous as strictly science fiction–it’s General Audiences all the way.

Luminous and Ominous is available as an ebook on Amazon for $2.99


Don’t eat the apple, Eve! (review: Luminous and Ominous)

3 Jan

The neon-blue, radioactive, extraterrestrial apple.

It’s kind of fun to think about the world ending.  Survivor‘s on its twenty-second season; Discovery Channel made a hit of end-of-the-world reality program The Colony; AMC’s original series The Walking Dead wowed audiences; and everyone who’s anyone watched LOST.

Of course, nobody likes to consider how completely helpless they’d be, how few marketable skills a college history student would have in a collapsed society where experience in handling archival materials and writing science fiction reviews doesn’t mean anything.  The reality would be terrifying, and truth is most of us wouldn’t rise to the occasion, discover hidden talents, regain primal strength and adaptability.

Most of us would die.

Still, New Year comes around and I’m sure I’m not the only one bopping around humming Jay Sean’s “2012” (we’re gonna party like it’s the end of the world, y’all!).

Henry Willingham wasn’t much different.  When 2012 actually does bring meteorites teeming with voracious violet alien plant life ready to consume our little green planet, he and his friends are positively giddy.  They stock up on toilet paper and pimp out one of those Cold War emergency fallout shelters in an abandoned hotel–and joke about picking up a bunch of girls to repopulate the world with.  “Why was it fun to think about civilization ending?” Henry asks himself in a moment of introspection, “Why did it put Henry in such a good mood?”

Probably because, even as he watched YouTube videos of a woman being eaten from the inside out by, he didn’t really believe it.  The government was firebombing Miami–rest in peace collateral damage; go to hell alien invaders!  And besides, even if we can’t nuke the alien bacteria/plant thingies, there’s always H.G. Wells’s common cold working for us, right?


The truth is, author Noah K. Mullette-Gillman posits in his second novel Luminous and Ominous, human’s can’t even deal with human-scale disasters (oh hello, Katrina)–how are we supposed to cope with galactic problems?

By 2014, the dozens of people Henry hand-picked for his bomb shelter civilization are gone: it’s just him and two women, Laura and Samantha, and none of them are thinking about repopulation.  Not when they’re out in the alien jungle searching for a glimpse of green, in the middle of Cornucopia Blue:

The extraterrestrial fruit was heavy and thick.  They could smell the sweet juice inside.  Blue skin leaked orange liquid in heavy drops which painted the sticky brown grass beneath it.

It would have been wonderful if it didn’t just feel so wrong.  It was a beauty at their expense, a beauty that mocked them.  Cornucopia Blue was stronger than any life on Earth.  It was healthier, more beautiful, and it wanted to life more than the life on Earth did.

The people who survive the end of the world (as we know it) have a harder task than saving civilization, or even fighting to stay alive: in this book, the real fight is to stay human.

Amidst the glut of End-of-Days books coming out just in time for 2012, Luminous and Ominous is unique.  There are no zombies, or robots, or spaceships, or (as excited I am about V tomorrow) lizard-people taking over the government.  There’s no identifiable enemy, and no way forward for the conquering mentality.  Do we like the thought of the apocalypse because it offers a chance for our imaginations to rebuild and remake the world in our image?  That’s not what happens in Noah K. Mullette-Gillman’s imagination.  Luminous and Ominous is a thoughtful novel without cliches or a deus ex machina victory.  It’s not even about staying alive.

If you’ve read anything on this blog before, you probably know that I’m not a religious person–but I do know my Genesis.  In the Garden of Eden, the first woman took a bite from the Tree of Knowledge and lost her divinity.  When Laura, one of the last women, takes a bite from the alien Tree of Life, she loses her humanity.  As Laura says, fingering a plastic dinosaur she keeps in her pocket, it’s adapt or die.

At what price?

Noah K. Mullette-Gillman’s Luminous and Ominous seems, superficially, nothing like his debut novel The White Hairs, a meditative work of “spiritual mythology.”  Luminous and Ominous is certainly closer to the science fiction mainstream, but I still see a thread of continuity with Mullette-Gillman’s first book: both are thoughtful and thought-provoking, spiritual without ever getting preachy, and beautifully-written.

Luminous and Ominous is available as an ebook on Amazon for $2.99

Reading for the End of the World: Luminous and Ominous, by Noah K. Mullette-Gillman

30 Dec

The Apocalypse is so in.  Not only do we have just one year left before the Mayan End-of-Days (unless the Singularity happens first, which would be epic), but end of the world scenarios are everywhere in popular culture: Justin Cronin’s The Passage was a major bestseller this summer (I was reading it on my Kindle in Greece, for goodness’s sake), and on tv we have AMC’s new original series The Walking Dead.

Whether it’s by vampires, zombies, robots, rapid pole shifting or the wrath of God, there’s plenty of Apocalypse to go around.  Which is why I’m getting out the Kindle for Noah K. Mullette-Gillman’s latest novel, Luminous and Ominous (Nov 2010).  From the book description:

If you had three days’ warning of the end of civilization and a safe place to hide: What would you take with you? Who would you save? And who would you leave behind?

Henry Willingham and his friends have three days to make the most terrifying decisions of their lives. The world has been infected by an inescapable living nightmare of alien vegetation that will replace all life on Earth. They must get everyone they love safely underground into a fallout shelter. There’s not enough time. There’s not enough room for everyone. Who will they save? Who will they leave behind? How will they live with the consequences?

After hiding underground for a year, the last three survivors must brave the otherworldly infestation and travel through what used to be upstate New York struggling for their lives and their humanity.

I very much enjoyed Mullette-Gillman’s last book, The White Hairs, as you may recall, so making Luminous and Ominous my first review of the New Year’s kind of a no-brainer.  Oh, and for another really selfish reason: my self-esteem soared when I opened up (virtually, I mean), the front cover.  On the “Praise for The White Hairs” page, the Scattering got quoted.  I’m friggin thrilled.  We’ll just have to see if this newest novel’s worth praising too.