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Editorial Reviews

“A superb, smart debut! Love this woman who has to fight her way back to the top using her intelligence and expertise. The confident, sharp details made me feel I was there, in Helen’s head, at each step of her remarkable journey. I can’t wait to read more from Unger, a welcome new voice in science fiction.” 

Lissa Price, internationally bestselling author of the Starters series

“VERDICT: Unger’s video game credits are well matched to this space adventure. Dialog among rivals, teammates, and machine interfaces keeps the story moving quickly. Recommended for fans of technothrillers and those who appreciate a strong lead character navigating readers through the technical bits.

Library Journal

“In technology we so often look to science fiction for inspiration. Kimberly Unger is the rare author with a foot in both worlds and it shows as she gives a thrilling glimpse into the future with Nucleation.”

Andrew Bosworth, Vice President of Augmented and Virtual Reality, Meta

“Science fiction fans will be captivated by Unger’s smart, plausible vision of the future of space travel, especially the elegant solution of utilizing quantum entanglement to communicate across light years.

Publishers Weekly

“This smart, gripping debut weaves technology, embodiment, and corporate espionage into a tense vision of the future that readers won’t be able to put down.”

Jacqueline Koyanagi, author of Ascension

“An inventive, exciting page turner that mixes mystery, bleeding edge technological speculation, and the promise of a potential sequel. If Grisham was a better wordsmith and chose to write hard sf thrillers, it would look a lot like Kimberly Unger’s gripping Nucleation.”

Charles Gannon, author of the Caine Riordan series.

“Nucleation delivers top-notch suspense, deftly weaving together industrial espionage and first contact in a futuristic world that is all too plausible. Unger brings to her world a special sensibility for human psychology that gives realism to futuristic nanotech and corporate politics alike.”

Juliette Wade, author of Mazes of Power

“A near-future, tech-driven thriller marked by grounded characters, wondrous discovery, and a compelling mystery at its core.”

Joseph Mallozzi, Executive Producer, Utopia Falls, Dark Matter, Stargate’s SG-1, Atlantis, Universe 

“As a lifelong fan of science fiction, I’ve read it all. But it’s always a surprise to be captivated by a new work and for her first novel, Unger’s Nucleation delivers a rich world-building experience on top of a narrative that grabs at you and satisfies that urge for something fresh. I’m so looking forward to more from this author.”

Kate Edwards, Executive Director of The Global Game Jam

“Contact’s Ellie Arroway. Story of Your Life’s Louise Banks. The Last Astronaut’s Sally Jansen. Add Helen Vectorovich to the ranks of great science fiction featuring remarkable, driven women serving as humanity’s first contact with an alien race. With Nucleation, Kimberly Unger offers a richly detailed, thought-provoking peek into our not-so distant future and a mind-blowing means of taking us to the stars, but are we prepared for what awaits us out there?”

Dayton Ward, author of Star Trek CODA: Moments Asunder

“Unger weaves real-world insights about virtual reality, technology, and art into a space opera packed with high adventure and dastardly intrigue.

Eliot Peper, author of Veil and Breach

“Taut and snappy, Nucleation is solid science fiction with a whole lot of heart.”

Cat Rambo, author of Carpe Glitter

“This debut novel is recommended for fans of Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon (2003) and Martha Wells’ Murderbot series, as well as for readers who like their cutting-edge technology with a bit of danger on the side.


“Forget your wide-eyed explorers, your prime directives, your philosophical debates. Forget all of Humanity nobly uniting in the face of the Unknown; our response to First Contact is far more likely to consist of mutual backstabbing in pursuit of the upper hand. Nucleation starts a clever journey down that less-traveled road, and passes through some fascinating territory en route.”

Peter Watts, author of The Freeze-Frame Revolution

“Rest assured, Kimberly Unger has found a way to make piloting space vehicles via virtual reality interesting, compelling, with the requisite stakes high enough to maintain our interest.”

Galaxy’s Edge Magazine 

“Author Kimberly Unger has created an absolutely inspiring main character who demonstrates on how believing in one’s conviction and own intuition will always lead to truth. Nucleation is an immersive tale that has blockbuster scale and emotional story-telling you won’t soon forget.”

Terry Matalas, showrunner, Star Trek: Picard

“Helen, a company woman starting to see cracks in the corporate facade, is an engaging heroine, and Unger’s experience producing virtual reality games lends verve and specificity to her depictions of the remote-operator experience.


“Nucleation is an intelligently written story that manages to combine a number of serious scientific concepts with sociological ones as well.

-Green Man Review

“Immersive and detailed SF and tech elements with the virtual reality gear that really shows the strength of the author’s knowledge and lines of invention.”

Nerds of a Feather