Mike ChenMar 10, 2022
Light Years from Home
Mira Books 2022
Literature is full of families torn apart by tragedy—death, war, crime. But what if the members of a family can’t agree on the cause of the tragedy that divides them?
In Mike Chen’s new novel, Light Years from Home: A Novel (Mira Books, 2022), sisters Kass and Evie agree that their brother Jacob vanished 15 years ago. But did he runaway to party to his heart’s content, as Kass believes, or was he abducted by aliens, as Evie thinks? Their starkly different interpretations of the facts exacerbates the pain and tragedy of their brother’s disappearance, pushing the family to the point of breaking.
“One of the things that I really wanted to show was how a single moment can really change the trajectory of people's lives,” Chen says. Jacob’s disappearance “fundamentally changes the direction of this family. Kass has this attitude of ‘if no one else is going to fix it, I am going to fix it.’ And Evie has the same attitude, except she thinks about it as ‘I'm going to fix it by going with my dad on like these UFO hunts, and we're going to find my brother’ and their mom wants to just move forward because that's the only way that she knows how to do it. … They've all gone in a completely different angle because this disaster has happened to them and none of them know the truth.”
Mike Chen, a three-time guest on the podcast, is the author of Here and Now and Then, A Beginning at the End, We Could be Heroes, and Star Wars: Brotherhood.
Rob Wolf is the host of New Books in Science Fiction and the author of The Alternate Universe and The Escape.