With a well-rounded and very human protagonist, Kimberly Unger’s impressive NUCLEATION is engaging

With the imminent book birthday on November 13, excitement builds for Kimberly Unger’s NUCLEATION.

At A GREEN MAN REVIEW, Warner Holme enjoys the debut novel.

NUCLEATION by Kimberly Unger is a science fiction novel that attempts to deal with everything from possible first contact, to nanomachines, to corporate espionage and personal rivalries. This would make the book seem overpacked in other hands, yet is quite effective overall. Indeed, the iclusion of many scientific concepts in this book is impressive.


Overall, NUCLEATION is an intelligently written story that manages to combine a number of serious scientific concepts with sociological ones as well. The fact that the Helen is engaging enough to keep the reader invested contributes well.


The novel provides a well rounded and very human protagonist in Helen. She’s our sole point of view, which can be a bit awkward at times and the author goes through some pains to make sure she is witness to some important events and there is just the slightest bit of shoehorning. It’s not a real defect of the novel, merely a consequence of that tight on person point of view. The author leverages this in all sorts of ways in putting us in Helen’s head and giving us a perspective for us to try and “figure out” along with Helen just what machinations, aside from the potential alien contact, are going on. She makes for an appealing and immersive character whose triumphs, successes, and boundary pushing all feel very natural and real.


NUCLEATION ends most satisfactorily and with a good solid ending, but there are clear lines for potential sequels and follow ups. First Contact, after all, is just the beginning of a story involving human-alien relations. I am interested in seeing where the author goes with the story from the ending of this novel, and hope the strengths here can be leveraged further on with more of Helen’s story.

For AMAZING STORIES, Ernest Lilley includes the book among Science Fiction to Look for November 2020.

Closer to Earth, you’ve got NUCLEATION, Kimberly Unger’s debut, a hardcore space procedural with some very interesting ideas about micro wormholes, nanomachines, and entangled communications, set in a first contact situation and a conspiracy.

Similarly, Andrew Liptak in TRANSFER ORBIT mentions NUCLEATION as one of the 17 sci-fi and fantasy books to check out this November.