Book Review: Alien Nation by Gini Koch

Posted May 12, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 4 Comments

Book Review: Alien Nation by Gini Koch

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Alien Nation by Gini Koch
Genres: Science Fiction, Romance
Published by DAW Books on December 6, 2016
Pages: 541
Format: eBook
Source: the library

Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: Alien Collective, Universal Alien, Alien in Chief, Camp Alien, Alien Education

Fourteenth in the Katherine “Kitty” Katt comical science fiction romance series and revolving around a human woman who became enhanced over the past twelve stories and is in love with an alien who is now president of the United States. Hmmmm…

My Take

Well, this is a different kind of back history. We finally learn a lot more about the Ancients and the Z’porrah. Turns out they both used to be friendly with the same aims. Until the usual falling-out. But there is quite a bit of promise in this one as well, even if Koch takes one of her twisty paths to get there. It’ll keep you on your toes, flipping pages to find out what happens next. Sigh…and now I’m panting for the next one in the series, Alien Education.

Alien Nation uses first-person protagonist point-of-view using Kitty’s perspective, which is perfect since the story is so completely flavored with her Kittyisms, but not as much music…

I dunno. Koch, er, Muddy, claims that worlds ruled by royalty do better against enemy aliens than worlds ruled by a democracy. I don’t see America as being much of a democracy anymore, ruled as we are by lobbyists, corporations, and politicians out for themselves, and I can’t see us faring that well against the bad guys.

I guess it’s why it is such fun — in Kitty’s world — to discover someone willing to step up and take charge. To put themselves on the line for the good of a world.

Huh, turns out it’s all true. Area 51 really is a popular landing site for aliens, Koch certainly puts forward a good reasoning for it. It also turns out that the children are so much more powerful than any of us thought. Ooh-wee, this oughta be fun!

The Story

It’s a typical day of bureaucracy and stress for President Jeff and First Lady Kitty Katt-Martini, made more stressful when alien spacecraft are spotted making a beeline for Earth, none of them from the Alpha Centauri system.

And, just to make things a little more challenging, those alien spacecraft are coming to ask Kitty for protection — and asylum on Earth, for they are fleeing an enemy so terrifying that even a Z’porrah ship is trying to get to Earth for safety and protection!

Then a cryptic request from an old adversary pulls Kitty out of the White House and into an explosion—and an even more explosive situation. Not only is the Mastermind back in the game, but he’s created some frightening new cloning abilities.

If Earth isn’t able to stop either of these threats, there may not be anything left of humanity.

Or, as Kitty calls it, Thursday.

The Characters

Katherine “Kitty” Katt Martini used to be completely human. Now she’s a mom and married to Jeff. Well, and she has some powers of her own including that Dr. Doolittle thing (Alien Proliferation, 4). Bruno and Lola are the Head Peregrine Birds and have attached themselves to Kitty. Poofikins is Kitty’s official Poof. They have two children: Jamie who holds ACE, a collective superconsciousness (Alien Research, 8), and Charlie. Mous-Mous is Jamie’s Poof.

Jeff Martini is from Alpha Centauri (A-C) and happens to be the president of the United Staes (Alien in Chief, 12) and king of the world. Murphy is Jeff’s favorite Poof, although Harlie is the Head Poof and Jeff’s first Poof. Joseph and Rob are first- and second-in-command of Jeff’s Secret Service detail. Craig Rossi is Jeff’s double.

Charles “Chuckie” Reynolds, the director of the CIA, has been Kitty’s best guy friend since 9th grade and widowed after events in Alien Research when his wife, Naomi Gower, “died”.

Kitty’s mom, Angela Katt, is the head of the Presidential Terrorism Control Unit (PTCU). Kevin Lewis is her second-in-command. Denise is his gorgeous wife and in charge of the embassy daycare for the A-Cs. Raymond and Rachel are their gorgeous children. Malcolm Buchanan was assigned as one of Kitty’s bodyguards (Alien Diplomacy, 5); he may be human, but he has some Dr. Strange powers. Len Parker and Kyle Constantine are officially Kitty’s driver and bodyguard who also report to Chuck for the CIA (Alien in the Family, 3). Manfred, a troubadour, is the head of Kitty’s A-C protection detail. Evalyne is the head of Kitty’s Secret Service detail; Phoebe is her second-in-command. Francine Alexis is Colette’s eldest sister, one of the most experienced troubadours, and Kitty’s body double.

Jeff’s parents, the science-oriented Alfred Martini and Lucinda White, were born on Alpha Four of the Alpha Centauri system. Elizabeth “Lizzie” Vrabel (she was Elizabeth Jackson) is now Kitty’s ward (the bad guys hate her because she schooled the Junior Skulls on not being bullies in Alien in Chief); she had been adopted by Benjamin Siler, the first human-alien hybrid and the son of Ronald Yates and Madeline Siler Cartwright. He can “blend” and ages very slowly besides a slew of other powers.

The White House
Rahnish Singh, a Troubadour, is the Chief of Staff. Fritz Hochberg is the new vice-president. Natalie Gagnon-Brewer is now the Secretary of Transportation (Alien Diplomacy). Elaine Armstrong, the widow of the previous president, is now Jeff’s Secretary of State. Walter Ward is now head of security at the White House (Teddy is his Poof while George and Gracie are his Peregrines) while his older brother William is in charge of worldwide security for the A-Cs. Nancy “Squeaky” Maurer has come over to our side after the A-Cs rescued her son, a now in-control android, Cameron. She’s the White House Social Secretary for the First Lady. Abner Schnedkedy is the Chief Floral Designer and Chief Decorator. (His wife, Lilian Culver, is the top lobbyist for the defense industry). Vance Beaumont is Kitty’s Chief of Staff; Guy Galoire, the head lobbyist for Big Tobacco, is Vance’s husband (Alien Diplomacy). Colette Alexis is Kitty’s Press Secretary and a troubadour. Antoinette Reilly is the Chief Usher.

General Mortimer “Uncle Mort” Katt, a Marine and Sol’s brother, is the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Colonel Arthur Franklin is in charge of Andrews Air Force Base. Colonel Marvin Hamlin. Captain Gil Morgan. Lieutenant Colonel Sergio Gonzalez is based at Area 51 along with Colonel John Butler, an in-control android.

The A-C Embassy is…
…where a number of the series-critical A-Cs live. Richard White is Christopher’s father, the former Supreme Pontifex of Centaurion religion, Kitty’s field partner, and now the Public Relations Minister for the A-Cs. Christopher White, an imageer, is Jeff’s cousin. Amy Gaultier-White, a lawyer and Kitty’s best girl friend since high school, has inherited her father’s corporation but still doesn’t have control of it, and is Christopher’s wife. They have a child: Becky (Alien in Chief). Missy is the head of security at the A-C embassy. Dr. Tito Hernandez is in charge of all things medical (Alien in the Family).

Algar is a refugee from the Black Hole whom Kitty had dubbed the Operations team.

Hacker International is the unofficial name for the computer geniuses who live over at the Zoo, part of the Embassy Complex. Stryker Dane is an old friend of Kitty’s and is the head of the group that includes Yuri, Big George, Ravi Gaekwad (he’s married to Jennifer), and Henry. Chernobog had been the world’s greatest hacker. And now she works with the A-Cs (Alien Collective, 9).

Serene Dwyer, a troubadour and an imageer, is Head of Imageering for Centaurion Division. She’s also in charge of the very secret Centaurion CIA. She’s married to Brian Dwyer, an astronaut, and they have a son, Patrick. Doreen Coleman-Weisman is the current American Centaurian ambassador. Paul Gower, a powerful dream and memory reader, is the current Supreme Pontifex and is married to James Reader, a former international supermodel, who is Head of Field. Abigail Gower, his sister, is a reverse empath who feels thoughts as emotions; she came back from Beta Eight with Naomi’s powers, her own, and more (Alien Separation). Jennifer Barone-Gaekwad (imageer) and Jeremy Barone (empath) are a sister-brother team of field agents. Mahin Sherazi is a hybrid with earth bender power. Camilla is one of the very few A-Cs who can lie.

Caliente Base is…
…located in Arizona. Viola Sciacca is in overall command with Romeo Ruggero in charge of the military and Carmine Giordano in charge of the gates.

Airborne for Centaurion Division is…
…a squad of Navy Top Guns assigned to A-C defense. Tim Crawford is in charge (Alien in the Family). Captains Lorraine and Claudia are two of Kitty’s best Dazzler friends. They’re married to Joe Billings and Randy Muir, two of the flyboys who were forcibly enhanced by Stephanie. Jerry Tucker (Kitty’s favorite), Matt Hughes, and Chip Walker are more flyboys.

Mister Joel Oliver and Bruce “the Tastemaker” Jenkins (Alien Collective) are journalists who have unlimited access to the A-Cs. Olga Dalca is the wheelchair-bound wife of the Romanian ambassador; Adriana is her granddaughter to whom she is teaching everything she knew as a KGB spy.

Prince is a German shepherd police dog along with Riley and Duke; their handlers are Officers Herman Melville, “Curly“, and “Larry“. Jane “Star”, Rhonda, and the Czech Meriel are hookers while Barnaby “Brad” Ramsey and Carlton “Cujo” Shepherd are in the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity at Florida State and Mickey and Garfield are homeless guys; all seven are caught up in it all.

Thomas Kendrick, head of Titan Security, is one of the new additions to Team Alien. Senator Donald McMillan is the senior senator from Arizona and a former war hero.

Mona is the ambassador from Bahrain; Khalid is her bodyguard. The king of Bahrain is Raheem.

Oren, Jakob, and Leah are Mossad agents.

Ali Baba Gadhavi, a.k.a., G-Company, is a notorious Indian gangster based in Bahrain and funding Cliff.

The Planetary Council is…

…filled with representatives from the friendly planets around earth. Jareen the Reptilian from Beta 13 is an Igaunadon and one of Kitty’s Soul Sisters. King Benny is a giant walking otter from Beta Eight; ocellars are fox-cats; and, chochos are pig-dogs (Alien Separation, 11) who are also from Beta Eight. Lakin is a Hawkman (Alien Separation). The Shantanu are colorful penguin people from Alpha Seven — Bettini is the Head Spokespenguin — whom we first met in Alien Separation; they function as the A-C system’s version of the Red Cross. Rohini is Bettini’s second. The Cleophese became allies in Alien Separation. Felicia and Arup are Feliniads (giant cats) while Wahoa, Wrolf, and Willem are Canus Majorans (giant dogs) (Alien vs Alien, 6). Queen Renata leads the “Less Pissed Off Daily” Amazons from Beta Twelve. Her daughters, Rahmi (she wants to marry Tito) and Rhee, have been working with Kitty and company for some time now.

Alexander is the emperor of Alpha Centauri, the king of Alpha Four, and Jeff and Christopher’s cousin. Leonidas is his Councilor. Prince Gustav Drax is their Royal Vatusan ally. King Varian the Twentieth of Vatusus is his father. Costello is the Australian Prime Minister.

The Ancients are…

…an ancient race of shapeshifters, a.k.a., the Old Ones, who’ve been meddling with everyone’s evolution. Rudolph “John” Wruck is an Ancient and the only survivor from LaRue’s attack on her own crew.

LaRue Demorte Gaultier turned out to be a traitorous Ancient and Z’porrah spy.

The Incoming Aliens

The Vrierst, a manta-ray-like people, are farthest from their home. Yggethnia System are a group of planets just beyond A-C whose people look like golden lemurs. The Themnir use a giant treeship, a Faradawn ship, normally used to collect survivors; they look like giant slugs. Captain Othala, Abralox is her chief engineer, and Tevvik are part of the Faradawn’s crew. The Lyssara, giant walking honeybees, are coming in what looks like a cube but they call it a comb. The Q’vox look like minotaurs. The Nemmen look like rat-sized cockroaches.

Muddy is the leader of the Turleens who are from planet Tur in the Sirius system; Lily seems to be his second-in-command. Major General Dew Lakes and Mossy are the leaders for the very lonely Mykali.

The Haters

The YatesCorp is…
…an evil multimedia corporation [yeah, yeah, but this one is more evil than most of ’em] trying to take down the A-Cs and rule the world. Ronald Yates, a former Supreme Pontifex, had started YatesCorp to fund his aims. He’d also been Richard’s father, which makes him Jeff and Christopher’s grandfather. Yates had also been Mephistopheles. Amos Tobin now runs YatesCorp.

Gaultier Enterprises is…
…supposed to be Amy’s. She’s battling Ansom Somerall, Janelle Gardiner, and Quinton Cross for control.

Club 51 is…
…a hate group led by Harvey Gutermuth.

The Church of Hate and Intolerance is…
…led by Farley Pecker.

The Crazy Eights are…
…those conspiring with Cliff Goodman who was exposed in Alien in Chief, and include Casey Jones, a dyed-in-the-wool alien hater; Stephanie, Jeff’s niece and Alfred’s granddaughter; the Tinkerer; Nerida Alfero is a water bender; Talia Lee; Nigel Kellogg and Russell Kozlow (Chernobog’s son) are trained killers; and, Darryl Lowe is an air bender. Annette Dier had been one of Goodman’s lieutenants.

Madeline Siler Cartwright had been one of the Brains Behind the Throne. Cybele Siler Marling was her sister who had married Antony Marling.

The Z’porrah are…
…an ancient race of dino-bird boogeymen from a galaxy far, far away who hate humans. Well, okay, they hate everyone who’s not them. Hmmm, sounds like some religious groups on this planet. La’fean is one of their leaders.

The Aicirtap look like large beetles and were uplifted by the Z’porrah. Six-foot ones from Tau Ceti who used to be happy and loving. Ulzax is a female.

Mephistopheles is dropping hints about the Cettans and Uglors.

Imageers used to be able to touch a picture and know everything about the person in that picture (Alien Collective). A troubadour can affect people with their voice, facial expressions, and body movements. Poofs are cute fluffy balls with black button eyes who go large-and-in-charge at any threat to the one they consider theirs. Everyone thought they were Royal Pets to the Alpha Four Royal Family, but it turns out they’re actually of the Black Hole Universe and technically belong to Algar. Peregrines actually are from Alpha Four and are Royal Protectors who work in pairs. Gates are A-C transporters usually located in bathrooms. Kitty calls those gorgeous A-C women the Dazzlers. A collective superconsciousness is a watchdog sent from another planetary system to keep an eye on us crazy earthlings.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a combination of turquoises and browns. The focus is on Kitty with her long hair curling around her shoulders and wearing her signature blue. Behind her, the background is a close-up of that blue ball, earth, as seen from space, for aliens ships are speeding toward us. It’s a collage of characters sharing that cover with Kitty, from the police dogs, Prince, Riley, and Duke, to the hawkman, lemur-like critters, and the sea mammals mixing it up with spaceships and Z’porrah power cubes. The first part of the title is a lighter turquoise and the second half in white at the top with the author’s name in white at the bottom.

The title is more all-encompassing than you can imagine, for it will be an Alien Nation in so many, many ways.

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4 responses to “Book Review: Alien Nation by Gini Koch

  1. Kitty Katt is absolute nonsensical fun with its super person characters and alien beings, all in favor of a puristic American way. For the full flavor, I seriously recommend starting from the beginning. There’s so much nuance that would be lost without it.

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