Steal Across the Sky

Steal Across the Sky

by Nancy Kress

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Steal Across the Sky 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Kataman1 More than 1 year ago
This book starts out like a dynamo and then fizzles about halfway through. A group of individuals are selected by aliens called "the Atoners" to travel to other planets in the Universe to act as witnesses for the Earth. Apparently, the Atoners had visited Earth several thousand years ago and had done something to humanity. The witnesses will be able to determine exactly what happened by visiting these remote planets. The first half of the book focuses on three individuals; Cam, Lucca and Soledad. Cam and Lucca visited two sister planets while Soledad guides them from space. Lucca's planet seems to be inhabited by a bunch of wandering nomads, while Cam happens on a warlike planet. Lucca is injured in his landing and the nomads take him with them as part of their group. Meanwhile an evil king wants Cam dead and sends his emissary, Aveo to capture her. Cam and Lucca's tales are highly intriguing and I could have given the book five stars. However, once they learn what the Atoners had done, the second half of the book focuses on the three on Earth after they have returned months later. The author then introduces another of the witnesses, Frank, who is on a religious mission to make the Atoners give back to mankind what they had stolen. The second half of the book drags and has none of the real intrigue of the first half. Even with the author interspersed cute advertisements from the future and other little tidbits like memos from the President, the book is not saved from being painfully difficult to finish. By the time the ultimate resolution with the Atoners is reached the reader doesn't care anymore. A better book would have been to expand the tale of Cam and Lucca on their respective planets and possibly rewrite the second half of the book as a sequel.
holyboy More than 1 year ago
The SF idea here is that aliens visited the Earth long ago and removed something from human nature as an experiment and now they want to atone for it, so they recruit ordinary people to take to other planets to observe/guess/witness what was done. The first part of the book is about the adventures of three of the recruited humans on two worlds. The latter part of the book concerns the consequences on Earth upon their return. Without spoilers, my issues with the book were: 1. The aliens weren't too bright. What they did was not atonement. 2. The planets visited were all primitive. None appeared even close to Earth technologically. The paired planets were apparently all in the same solar systems. (?) What planet was paired with Earth???? 3. One of the witnesses refuses to believe in what was taken. Instead, he insists on something perhaps even more outrageous was taken from us. 4. The characters were well done. The politics were predictable.
harstan More than 1 year ago
The alien Atoners race came from deep space to establish a base on the earth¿s moon. They use the Internet to inform humanity that they committed a heinous crime against mankind ten millennium ago that they cannot rectify. Instead they ask for twenty-one English speaking volunteers to serve as witnesses to see the results of the crime they committed by witnessing and testifying first hand what has occurred on seven planets in which they seeded abducted earthlings. Safety is guaranteed to and from the planets visited.

Cam, Lucca and Soledad respond to the Internet advertisement and are selected by the Atoners as human surrogates. They are escorted to the moonless twin planets of Kular A and Kular B. The humans living on these orbs treat life as expendable as they believe that life does not end with death. What the three human visitors learn they bring back to an earth already reeling from the alien visitation.

STEAL ACROSS THE SKY is an exhilarating cerebral science fiction thriller that asks profound questions about humanity¿s development, religion, and social interaction through the Atoner (apropos descriptor for this group) intervention. The three earthlings represent mankind visiting two planets in which each orb can be seen in the sky of the other; while the Atoners remain mysterious almost Godly due to their superior technology, knowledge, and humble need to atone for their mistake. The residents of the two deep space orbs also seem real even as their culture (their existence actually) on the Kular twins is owed to the Atoners, which makes for a fascinating religious relationship between the settled and those who performed the deliverance. Nancy Kress provides plenty of action, but it is the thought provoking questions to include defining what a crime is that make this a great tale.
RobinJacksonPearson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The premise is that a mysterious alien civilization feels the need to atone for wrongs done to humanity 10,000 years ago, so they recruit a select number of volunteers to go observe human colonies around the galaxy and understand what has happened.This book garnered more than the usual share of unfavorable reviews, but I thought it was good fun. Some reviewers did not like the "multimedia montage" sections Kress interspersed throughout the story. I felt they were amusing, and they worked to establish the scene as a plausible point in the not-distant future. Other reviewers hated the characterization, but again, I felt that it was realistic and adequate to the purpose. I did, however, agree with the one Amazon reviewer who said the description of the alien was ridiculous.But the reason this one ended up on my list is that, flawed as it was, I found it to be an interesting and enjoyable read. I especially appreciated the suspenseful mystery that drove the plot hard through the first 2/3 of the book.
FYROM on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nancy Kress' Steal Across the Sky feels like a great novella that was padded out into a so-so novel. The novel starts out with an engaging mystery as it follows three human `Witnesses¿ sent to the far-off binary planet system of Kular-A and -B by an alien race known as the Atoners in order to observe evidence of some ancient, unknown crime that the Atoners committed against humanity. The three are not scientists or military personnel, having been randomly selected by the Atoners from millions of potential applicants, which leaves them with ill-prepared to make first contact with the alien civilizations they encounter on the two worlds. As they struggle to learn more about the societies they¿ve been assigned, the full scope of the Atoners¿ crime slowly grows apparent.Unfortunately the novel begins to slack off once the mystery has been solved and the crew returns to Earth to reveal their findings. The point of view jumps away from the two main characters from the early chapters to focus mainly on others coming to grips with the Atoners¿ crimes, including the third Witness who remained in orbit over Kular. After the interesting interactions between the Witnesses and Kularians in the first half the philosophical musings and personal dilemmas were something of a letdown. The grand finale, in which an attempt is made to find a way to reverse the Atoners¿ crime, was particularly anti-climactic.All in all, an excellent first half that should have ended without returning to Earth.
bigorangemichael on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the near future, a group of aliens arrive and establish a colony on the moon. The aliens, who call themselves the Atoners, tell the world that they've interfered in human development and call for several teams of three to be sent to other worlds to observe and figure out exactly what was done."Steal Across the Sky" follows one such team to two different worlds and shows the team figuring out exactly what happened. This story takes the first half of the novel, with the second half devoted to the repercussions of that discovery and its impact on the entire world and the characters we meet.The books is fascinating and interesting until right before the end when it suddenly takes a very different turn and rushes to an ending, all while leaving things open enough for a sequel. Can't we just have a standalone sci-fi novel these days that doesn't feel the need to set itself up for a series or unending sequels?
readinggeek451 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Aliens who call themselves Atoners come to Earth to confess that they did humanity a great wrong some 10,000 years ago. They ask for volunteers to travel to other planets and Witness the harm that was done. This first half of the book follows Witnesses Lucca and Cam as they experience life on twin planets. The second half picks up after the Witnesses' return, after their startling news has exploded on Earth society. The Witnesses--internationally famous and often reviled--have trouble settling back into their lives. And human society has trouble absorbing their revelation, a revelation that Cam embraces and Lucca refuses to believe.It's not bad, but Kress has done better.
AnnieMod on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Steal Across the Sky by Nancy Kress is a science fiction novel that starts as one of the best books I had read lately and then looses its steam and never picks it up again. Ten thousands years before the start of the book (which is in 2020), a race that calls themselves the Atoners had wronged the humanity in a way they do not want to explain. What becomes clear very soon is that they had taken some people from Earth and put them on other planets - 7 pairs of planets. Pairs... so that a blind experiment can be performed - and now they want witnesses to go to these planets and witness something. And this stealing turns out not to be the big thing that they had done. The part of the book that was following one of these witnesses' teams was the most interesting part - Kress manages to build two very different human societies and to show how our own society deals with change. Then the witnesses come back on Earth and the book goes downhill. It keeps it up for a while but it just drags and drags. It leads to how the Atoners atone for what they had done... except that in the aftermath of what happens, most of the book becomes irrelevant... and some parts remain unexplained. Or maybe the first parts put the bar way too high - if it was put just in a few pages, I might have liked the rest a lot more. But I somehow wish the book had kept strong to the end....
mzonderm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good science fiction is more about the characters than the science. And this is good science fiction. Unfortunately, Kress goes a little overboard in weighting the book toward the characters (sometimes less human drama is more), but this is still a very interesting story. Kress presents a familiar question (what comes after death) and answers it in a unique way, without taking any of the various moralistic routes a less skilled author might have.
PeskyLibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The "Atoners" have informed Earth that they have harmed humanity and need human volunteers to travel to other planets to gather information on how best to make up for their past interference. While not all the human actions are believable (even for a science fiction story), the premise is interesting, the writing engaging, and the harm caused to humanity a thought-provoking concept, well worth reading. For true science fiction fans only.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Night
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pavlusha More than 1 year ago
Although I loved "probability" books to a varying degree this was an utter waste of money. There is very little science fiction in the book and I'm too disappointed to write a lengthy treatise on a boring book.
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