The Outside (Paperback)
Humanity’s super-intelligent AI Gods brutally punish breaches in reality, as one young scientist discovers, in this intense and brilliant space opera.
Autistic scientist Yasira Shien has developed a radical new energy drive that could change the future of humanity. But when she activates it, reality warps, destroying the space station and everyone aboard. The AI Gods who rule the galaxy declare her work heretical, and Yasira is abducted by their agents. Instead of simply executing her, they offer mercy – if she’ll help them hunt down a bigger target: her own mysterious, vanished mentor. With her homeworld’s fate in the balance, Yasira must choose who to trust: the gods and their ruthless post-human angels, or the rebel scientist whose unorthodox mathematics could turn her world inside out.
File Under: Science Fiction [ False Gods | Angel Inside | Autistic in Space | Here be Monsters ]
About the Author
ADA HOFFMANN is a Canadian graduate student trying to teach computers to write poetry. Her critically acclaimed speculative short stories and poems have appeared in Strange Horizons, Asimov's, Uncanny, and two year's best anthologies. Ada was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome at 13, and is passionate about autistic self-advocacy. She is a former semi-professional soprano, a tabletop gamer and an active LARPer, she lives in southern Ontario with a very polite black cat.
"The Outside is a gripping examination of the battle between good and evil on a grand scale"
– the Guardian
"Hoffmann confidently layers morality and disability rights into a breezily told adventure that bursts with sheer fun... This beautifully smart, uncynical space opera will charm fans of Charles Stross and Lois McMaster Bujold."
– Publishers Weekly
"Deeply embedded in sci-fi history, The Outside reimagines old stories in new, exciting, #ownvoices ways."
– Book Riot
"Exciting and gripping space opera"
– SyFy Wire
"The narrative ramps up the suspense all the way to the climax. It’s a strikingly effective one, full of high stakes and high emotions, with a satisfying conclusion and room for more stories to come. Compellingly written, tense, and thrilling, with fascinating (and weird) worldbuilding and brilliant characters, The Outside is a fantastic debut. I can’t wait to see what Hoffman does next."
"With its vast setting, compassion for its characters, and an incredible mad scientist at the center of it all, The Outside is a science-fiction suspense novel like no other: unusual and twisty, a delicate balance of suspense, space opera, and cosmic horror."
– B&N Sci Fi & Fantasy Blog
"Hoffmann has created a beautifully immersive world, an intoxicating blend of science and divinity that held me captive from page one. Come for the cosmic horror, stay for the nuanced exploration of the nature of individuality, the soul, and the relationships that tie us together."
- Caitlin Starling, author of The Luminous Dead
“The Outside is a beautiful, stark reclamation of unknowable horror. Hoffman layers thoughtful worldbuilding and rich prose to build a stunning story of power, ambition and personal agency. I couldn’t put The Outside down for fear of what might happen while I was looking away.”
– Sarah Gailey, Hugo Award-winning author of River of Teeth
"Hoffman’s debut is starkly original, and tinged with hints of horror fantasy – truly operatic stuff."
– B&N SciFi & Fantasy Blog
“The Outside is a fresh and mind-bending mix of cosmic horror and space opera, a compelling story that spans from the deeply personal to the vast mysteries of time and space. Unsettling and gorgeous, this is like nothing I have read before and the book I have been longing for without knowing it.”
– Karin Tidbeck, award-winning author of Amatka and Jagannath
"With a boffo combination of hard science fiction, cosmic Lovecraftian horror, both cyber-and-god-punk, some ridiculously charismatic aliens, and a fascinating female protagonist somewhere on the autism spectrum, Ada Hoffmann’s The Outside feels like it was made to order for us"
- Skiffy and Fanty blog
"The Outside is a definite mind-bender, serving up shock and awe from the start."
– Reviews and Robots
“There await wonders and horrors alike, wrapped in delicious prose and unforgettable imagery. And no matter how far into these fantastic and weird worlds we delve, there always remains a solid, comforting sense that we are not alone.”
– A Merc Rustad, Nebula Award finalist and author of So You Want to be a Robot
“Unsettling and unique in equal measure... Reading this collection is like watching a centipede burrow into the center of your palm, knowing it will remain there, under your skin.”
– Bogi Takács, author of Iwunen Interstellar Investigations
"A tangled knot of inter-dimensional intrigue that will have you reading with clenched teeth and curled toes."
- Lara Elena Donnelly, author of spy thriller trilogy The Amberlough Dossier
"A stunningly imagined novel! Hoffmann takes on the idea of vast, apathetic, cosmic horrors and then makes the most powerful force in the universe...compassion. The prose marries fast-paced action with intricate relationships and a mixture of religion, technology, and diversity that's unlike anything I've come across before. It's weird in all the best ways, filled with memorable characters and a sweeping plot that's part mystery, part horror, and all heart."
- Charles Payseur, Quick Sip Reviews
"What I loved about The Outside were the shades of gray in characters and their choices, and the challenge of doing what's right when right is a shifting target."
"Great characters and big moral questions that go far beyond your standard space opera."
- Sarah Pinsker, Nebula Award-winning author of Our Lady of the Open Road