Light Years from Home

A Novel

by Mike Chen

On Sale: 12/27/2022

Light Years from Home

Enlarge Book Cover

Light Years from Home

A Novel

by Mike Chen

On Sale: 12/27/2022


About the Book

From the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Brotherhood

A Best Of pick and Most Anticipated Sci Fi and Fantasy novel, as selected by Goodreads • Buzzfeed • BookRiot • The Portalist • IO9 • BookBub • SheReads • BiblioLifestyle • Den of Geek • GeekDad

“A rich backstory… a highly satisfying ending… All the stars for Chen's warmhearted space-travel story.” –
Kirkus, starred review

Every family has issues. Most can’t blame them on extraterrestrials.

Evie Shao and her sister, Kass, aren’t on speaking terms. Fifteen years ago on a family camping trip, their father and brother vanished. Their dad turned up days later, dehydrated and confused—and convinced he'd been abducted by aliens. Their brother, Jakob, remained missing. The women dealt with it very differently. Kass, suspecting her college-dropout twin simply ran off, became the rock of the family. Evie traded academics to pursue alien conspiracy theories, always looking for Jakob.

When Evie's UFO network uncovers a new event, she goes to investigate. And discovers Jakob is back. He's different—older, stranger, and talking of an intergalactic war—but the tensions between the siblings haven't changed at all. If the family is going to come together to help Jakob, then Kass and Evie are going to have to fix their issues, and fast. Because the FBI is after Jakob, and if their brother is telling the truth, possibly an entire space armada, too.

The perfect combination of action, imagination and heart, Light Years from Home is a touching drama about a challenge as difficult as saving the galaxy: making peace with your family…and yourself.

"With heart and insight...Chen crosses the stakes and imagination of a space opera with the emotional depth and intricacy of a family drama." —Erika Swyler, bestselling author of Light from Other Stars

Critical Praise


"A rich backstory... a highly satisfying ending... All the stars for Chen's warmhearted space-travel story.” –Kirkus, starred review 

“A poignant, smart story that gives a twist to a classic sci-fi premise.” –BookBub

“Chen once again delivers a moving story of fractured familial relationships against the backdrop of a science fiction adventure…. The idea that an intergalactic war cannot seem to alter sibling dynamics feels true here, and readers will root for the Shaos to find the reconciliation they need to move forward. Fans of light sci-fi and emotional journeys should enjoy this touching family drama spiked with a hint of space opera. This combination of a cosmic adventure and the story of strained sibling ties packs high-stakes action and terrific emotional range into one dynamic novel.” –Shelf Awareness

"A vivid, strong novel that will enchant SF fans who enjoy concentrated, touching stories that narrow in on relationships and emotional consequences." —Booklist

"A heartfelt novel of family dysfunction wrapped in an intergalactic cloak… Chen’s strength in writing poignant character arcs, especially within family dynamics, shines here, as does his ability to craft intriguing blends of literary and speculative fiction with compelling, character-driven plots.” –Library Journal

“Chen delivers an emotional blend of space opera and family drama…. Captures both the love and the friction of [the] sibling relationship [and] adroitly explores the contradictory emotions typical of sibling dynamics and the holding pattern of familial roles against the distant backdrop of UFO investigation and intergalactic battle. The result is sure to keep readers turning pages.” –Publishers Weekly 

"So good, sweet and funny and dark and weird, Light Years from Home is a tense family melodrama wrapped inside a wild alien abduction story. Nerve-jangling and heartbreaking, it explores the traumas of mental illness, the annoyances of sibling rivalry—and the dangers of an interstellar war whose fingers are slowly reaching for Earth. I could not put this book down. I wanted to know more about the aliens, sure, but mostly I was desperate to find out how the Shao family would come back together." —Annalee Newitz, bestselling author of Autonomous and Four Lost Cities

“Light Years From Home crosses the stakes and imagination of a space opera with the emotional depth and intricacy of a family drama. With a gamer’s heart and insight worthy of a psychologist, Chen writes a family in which sibling relationships are more complex than galactic warfare. It’s impossible not to see yourself in the Shaos, and it’s impossible not to love them. Reading Mike Chen is an absolute joy.” –Erika Swyler, bestselling author of Light from Other Stars

"Mike Chen delivers another perfect blend of sci-fi and heart, turning sweeping space opera inside out to examine real, intricate human emotions and complicated family dynamics. Honest, warm and insightful, with wry humor and gut-punch emotion by turns, Light Years from Home was a joy to read." —Rowenna Miller, author of the Unraveled Kingdom series

“Fast-paced, funny, and strung with as much love as there are stars in the sky, Mike Chen’s Light Years from Home re-invents the alien abduction story, recast here as an adrenaline-filled adventure about persevering and belonging. His heart-filled characters shine as they search for their place in the galaxy—and with each other, finding hope, new beginnings, and above all else, family.” –Alison Stine, Philip K Dick Award-winning author of Trashlands

“A beautifully realized deep dive on the meaning of family told within an alien abduction framework… The Shao family feels real and lived in, so I can only assume Mike Chen has insider knowledge on intergalactic warfare as well.” –Sarah Pinsker, Nebula Award-winning author of A Song for a New Day and We Are Satellites

“I love a book about siblings, and this one combines a clever sci-fi plot with a moving and deeply relatable depiction of a family in crisis. Propelled just as much by the complicated feelings Kassie, Evie, and Jakob have for each other as by Jakob’s quest to win an intergalactic war, the novel asks the wrenching question: is it worse to be the one to leave your family, maybe forever, or to be the ones left at home? Light Years from Home is science fiction with heart, and reminded me in the best possible way of The X-Files—not just because an alien abduction is at the center of the story, but also because of how attached I became to its compelling, funny, and flawed characters. Right now I think we’re all yearning for stories that either offer an escape or warm our hearts; Mike Chen's novel does both.” –Kate Hope Day, author of In the Quick

"Achingly real sibling dynamics and tense action combine in a moving portrait of the human cost of a cosmic adventure. With heart and humor, Light Years from Home explores how grief and trauma scatter a family across time and space, and what happens to the ones left behind." —Catriona Silvey, author of Meet Me in Another Life

Praise for the novels of Mike Chen

An incredibly fun and thoughtful take on superhero lore, with flawed but immensely relatable main characters.” —Buzzfeed on We Could Be Heroes

“The story of deep friendship and the sheer power that comes from feeling less alone in the world…. An overall enjoyable, exciting, and action-packed read.” –Associated Press on We Could Be Heroes

"The perfect blend of light science fiction and contemporary fiction. It’s accessible and easy to read, but because of how vivid the characters are, this book is guaranteed to hook readers from the very first page." —The Nerd Daily on We Could Be Heroes

“Chen has a true gift for making the biggest of worlds center around the most complex workings of hearts... Compelling, realistic, and impossible to put down.” —Booklist, starred review, on A Beginning at the End

“Sometimes it is not the violent battles of post-apocalyptic stories that pull readers in; it is the emotional connection of humanity finding their way. Chen's prose lights a brilliant, fragile path through the darkness.” —Library Journal, starred review, on A Beginning at the End

“Clever, thrilling and full of heart, it is an instant sci-fi classic.” — on Here and Now and Then -

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780778386940
  • ISBN 10: 0778386945
  • Imprint: MIRA
  • On Sale: 12/27/2022
  • Pages: 400
  • List Price:22.99 CAD
  • BISAC1 : FICTION / Science Fiction / Alien Contact
  • BISAC2 : FICTION / Action & Adventure
  • BISAC3 : FICTION / Science Fiction / Space Opera
  • BISAC4 : FICTION / Family Life / Siblings

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