An alien ship rests over Water Island. For five years the people of the US Virgin Islands have lived with the Ynaa, a race of superadvanced aliens on a research mission they will not fully disclose. They are benevolent in many ways but meet any act of aggression with disproportional wrath. This has led to a strained relationship between the Ynaa and the local Virgin Islanders and a peace that cannot last.
A year after the death of a young boy at the hands of an Ynaa, three families find themselves at the center of the inevitable conflict, witnesses and victims to events that will touch everyone and teach a terrible lesson.
|Product dimensions:||5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
Cadwell Turnbull is a graduate from the North Carolina State University’s Creative Writing MFA in Fiction and English MA in Linguistics. He was the winner of the 2014 NCSU Prize for Short Fiction and attended Clarion West 2016. His short fiction has appeared in The Verge, Lightspeed, Nightmare, and Asimov’s Science Fiction. His Asimov’s short story “When the Rains Come Back” made Barnes and Noble’s Sci-Fi & Fantasy’s Short Fiction Roundup in April 2018. His Nightmare story “Loneliness Is in Your Blood” was selected for The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018. His Asimov’s novelette “Other Worlds and This One” was also selected by the anthology as a notable story. The Lesson is his debut novel.
Janina Edwards, an Earphone Award–winning narrator, is a graduate of the acting program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Ron Butler is a Los Angeles–based actor, Earphones Award–winning audiobook narrator, and voice artist with over a hundred film and television credits. Most kids will recognize him from the three seasons he spent on Nickelodeon’s True Jackson, VP. He works regularly as a commercial and animation voice-over artist and has voiced a wide variety of audiobooks. He is a member of the Atlantic Theater Company and an Independent Filmmaker Project Award winner for his work in the HBO film Everyday People.
Table of Contents
Water IslandA History of InvasionsLet Them TalkMoonWhat the Universe UnderstandsKing CockHomecomingA Third of the Stars of HeavenFor TonyThe LessonYn AltaaAcknowledgments
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Turnbull begins the tale innocuously enough. Aliens, (aka) Ynna arrive on the Virgin Islands peacefully. The author describes encounters of the first, third, and (maybe?) the fourth kind throughout the novel. Some of the novel seems a little nebulous to me. I don’t have numerous experiences with science fiction, but The Lesson is enjoyable. Also, the visitors are initially welcomed rather matter- of- factly because they will share great advancements in technology, science, and medicine. Peace does not last long during the Ynn tenure on earth; there is a plethora of conflicts—most of them tense understated, though deaths occur when the Ynna, are angered and insulted. A powerful attractive female Ynna, Mera, acts as the Ambassador, whose mission is to ensure the differing life forms co-exist. During their time on the Virgin Islands, the Ynn continuously remind there is a “lesson” to be learned by the humans; however, “the lesson” is never overtly revealed. After several years, the Ynna’s sporadic violence angers the humans, for they’re welcome to voice a complaint to the Ambassador, but she does little to appease them. Islanders eventually revolt because of several murdered Islanders whom they believe receive no justice, and the Ynna react with a large-scale retaliation before the Aliens depart. Turnbull appears to be writing an extended metaphor about colonization of indigenous people and the effects of that system. Only a few agnostic native characters accept the Ynna as aliens and do not really fear them, while most of the others, instilled with strong religious values, come to see them as demons and devils. There are strong female characters, both youthful and elderly. The action is well paced for it sucked me in from the beginning. What about “the lesson?” each reader will discover his/her own lesson. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
4.5 Stars I was intrigued when I read this book was science fiction set in the Caribbean and then sold when I saw that Turnbull seeks to make a statement about colonialism; I love when science fiction is used to explore very real social justice issues. In The Lesson, an alien race known as the Ynaa arrive to the U.S. Virgin Islands with the promise to exchange advanced technology for cohabitation so they may conduct "research." It is the cohabitation, however, that proves to be the difficulty with the Ynaa's heavy-handed response to even the slightest provocation. The Lesson is what I would call literary science fiction. Turnbull's writing is beautiful and intelligent. His descriptions of the homes and roads and plants in the Virgin Islands make you feel like you've been there - and if you've never been there you will certainly want to go. I was also incredibly impressed with his ability to write complex, believable women, which is not a talent a lot of male authors possess. Turnbull does an excellent job exploring themes ranging from colonialism (and the racism inherent to colonialism), the absentee "parentage" of the United States, and religious doctrine. My only minor critique is that The Lesson has several POV characters and interweaving plot lines to keep track of, very nearly doing "too much" for a sub-300 page debut novel. That being said, the story works in the end, and I can't think of a single thing that should have been left on the editing room floor.
The Lesson by Cadwell Turnbull Available June 18, 2019 The Lesson is a dark and twisting novel about how those that are most powerful can so easily justify putting their desires ahead of those less powerful than them. The island of St. Thomas has a long history of groups invading and conquering but none have been as deadly or feared as the Ynaa. Trading advanced technology and medicines for the right to live on St. Thomas, the Ynaa don’t see themselves as invaders. Coming from a dangerous and war-torn world, the Ynaa want only to study the humans on the island and live amongst the people. But when the Ynaa officials excuse the violent and deadly outbursts of their fellow Ynaa, the humans have had enough. The human governments are unconcerned about the deaths of a few islanders, there has been far too many medical and engineering advancements to justify fighting against the Ynaa. But there is evidence that the Ynaa have been on this earth for far longer than they claimed. Photographs and folktales of incredible strength and miracle cures are more common than people realize. When another interaction with the Ynaa leads to the death of an islander, conflicts begin all over the island and no one is safe. Dark, gripping, and powerfully written, The Lesson is a page turning thriller of violence and hope. I found it to be an interesting and engaging take on alien invasion. This is the first novel I’ve read about an alien invasion taking place on an island. Usually it’s New York City or Los Angeles-some major American city. It was quite refreshing to have the setting as St. Thomas and to see the difference a place makes in how the characters interact with the opposing force. Highly enjoyed this one and I highly recommend it for anyone who loves a good sci-fi thriller. Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read and review this title. All opinions and mistakes are my own.