Fiction - Science Fiction
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 09/07/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

Ripe by James Hider leaps right in, with Earth shaken by the sudden appearance of colossal alien ships and the disappearance of tens of thousands. Psychologist Elspeth McGann finds herself entangled with a patient, Lester Rains, who claims to be part of the "Farmers," a group created and coded by the ancient Ma'ut to influence human evolution. As Elspeth investigates, global chaos ensues, and Rains' claims become more credible, as does her connection to them. Meanwhile, journalist Joe Chavez, initially dismissive of the alien threat, witnesses mass panic and joins the quest for answers, encountering Cassius Trenton and the decoded Arecibo message. Their paths converge, exposing agency secrets, drug-related mysteries, and the presence of alien observers and collaborators on Earth. As they unite with others in the pursuit of truth, they face an uncertain future in a world forever changed by the shift in the universal pecking order.

Ripe by James Hider was extra special to me because it was the first time in many, many science fiction novels that I came across the concept of "gentle abduction." I mean, that's just brilliant. And so is everything else Hider works into the story. I like that there is no time wasted in the aliens making themselves known, and how many conspiracy theories abound on who is behind it. Is it terrorists? Is it the Russians? Is it the Queen's butler-major? Hider shows the restraint of a skilled writer in letting the puzzle pieces fall into place organically through alternating points of view by exceptionally well-fleshed-out characters. The writing is clean, and not once was it ever passive, unlike those mysterious husks that make readers question the meaning behind the name Farmer One. Lovers of classic science fiction with contemporary issues will adore Ripe. Very highly recommended.