Quick confession: I don’t read science fiction very often. But recently I had the opportunity to read and review Durell’s book, Tactile Therapy. First of all, this book just blew me away in terms of applying some new concepts in science fiction, as well as the combination of the genre action and adventure. If you’re looking for an African American science fiction adventure that reminds you of both Aliens and the X-men, this is the book for you.
Tactile Therapy is not your typical alien story. Yes, an asteroid hits Earth, but it’s not the Earth we know. It’s 2029, and the world is still recovering from some massive political upheaval. Namely, aliens have arrived, and one of them, Minutia (AKA Joelle Grace) is quickly adapting to her new-found humanity. And her powers are AMAZING – with the ability to stop anything from hitting her, she is an unstoppable force. Durell has masterly woven Minutia’s innocence and confusion at this new world into a combination of a new child and emerging adult/hero.
To help Minutia adjust to her new existence on Earth, Durell created Calvin, a sheltered young boy with a mysterious past. Calvin is rich, privileged, and has an obsession with video games. Fans of both Dungeons and Dragons, role-playing, and Grand Theft Auto will greatly appreciate this snarky little companion. He is both entertaining and delightful, and will have you laughing and cheering for him along the way. In addition to Calvin, Minutia meets Dr. Arthur Bouya, a clear nod to Neil Degrasse Tyson. Durell has even managed to craft this homage in both an educated and entertaining way. Calvin and Arthur are Minutia’s greatest friends, and I loved them the most.
Also, there are superheroes now, specifically Nerosion, the sworn hero who is trying to protect society from threats: anything from aliens to drug users, despite his better judgement. His only weakness is Laharin, his fiance, and Ori, his above-average intelligent daughter. Laharin is probably one of my favorite characters, a strong independent African American woman through and through, Laharin doesn’t take crap from anyone and is willing to protect her own – no matter the cost. Ori is a resourceful little girl that shines as a brilliant addition to the story.
From an asteroid explosion to Minutia exploring to her powers with the help of Calvin and Arthur, to Nerosion’s battle to save the city from evil, Tactile Therapy will have you cheering, crying, and wanting more than just volume one from this debut author.