Kimberly Unger’s NUCLEATION is perfect for those who like their cutting-edge technology with a bit of danger on the side

Kimberly Unger’s forthcoming NUCLEATION (not due until November, available for pre-order from your favorite bookseller or direct from Tachyon and for reviewers via EDELWEISS and NETGALLEY) continues to generate excitement.

For BOOKLIST, Ashley Rayner praises the novel.

This debut novel is recommended for fans of Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon (2003) and Martha Wells’ Murderbot series, as well as for readers who like their cutting-edge technology with a bit of danger on the side.


Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Kimberly Unger?

Kimberly Unger is a gift box of contradictions topped with a big yellow bow. She grew up on the beaches of Southern California but is not a fan of avocados, she is deeply entrenched in games and technology but avoids wearing hoodies and conference giveaway t-shirts. She spent almost a decade working in high finance, twice as long in games and entertainment and has just made the jump to virtual reality. All of this has gone towards making her fairly well-rounded and has long-fed her desire to learn new things.

Your debut novel, NUCLEATION, will soon be published by Tachyon. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

Operator Helena Vectorovich managed to botch humanity’s first contact with an alien species. She goes from a woman on top of her game to being sidelined by tragedy and, while fighting her way back to the top was within her scope, that tragedy opened a door for her and she stepped right through it. The book is a standalone, but there are plenty of other stories to tell about Helen so if there’s interest, I’ve got more in my pocket.


5. What’s one book, which you read as a child or a young adult, that has had a lasting influence on your writing?

Patricia K. McPhillip’s The Changeling Sea is one, it was one of the shortest books I’d run across on a shelf full of epic-length high fantasy texts, but it still managed to be complete and whole and satisfying.  I started reading science fiction with shorter, faster pulpier works like Ron Goulart’s because some kind soul had sold off tons of them to the local used bookstore, so seeing that length of book emerge on modern shelves changed the way that I think about publishing.

6. And speaking of that, what’s your latest book, and why is it awesome?

NUCLEATION is a story about what happens when a woman at the top of her game gets her legs kicked out from under her. It’s about working in an environment that values one’s expertise, and how when you climb back up again, you may find your view has changed.  Throw in a healthy mix of remote-space travel, nano-robotics and an alien race that’s a mirror, not of us, but the things we create, and I think, I hope, you’re going to find Nucleation worth your time.