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Simon Jimenez Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Vanished Birds (2020) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Simon Jimenez is a science fiction author best known for writing “The Vanished Birds.” Jimenez was a lover of genre fiction from a very young age when he used to devour anything that was not anchored in reality. For much of his childhood, he did research on award-winning novels from each year and then proceeded to read those titles. But even as he was influenced by the iconic works he was reading, he sensed that something was absent from the works; as a queer person of mixed-race background, he could not see himself in any of them. Most of the characters were white and straight and no one represented his own experience. His debut “The Vanished Birds” is thus an attempt at representing his experiences while exercising his love for science fiction. Staying true to what he set out to do, the novel is a combination of science fiction components such as the future of humanity in interstellar space, interstellar travel, and a grand and intimate emotional core. It tells of the fate of a universe while also tackling the theme of the love and bond between lost people.

Jimenez began working on “The Vanished Birds” when he was at Emerson College studying for his MFA in creative writing. Trying to get his classmates into the story without getting them lost in science fiction lore, he made his story somewhat self-contained as he wrote the first chapter similar to a short work of fiction. The early approach helped to set the format of the novel as several individual narratives that made one satisfying whole. The lead is Nia Imani who is a frequent traveler in space which means she exists outside of time in the folding fabric of space. When a mysterious boy drops onto a planet, she is charged with taking care of him which is quite difficult as he only knows how to communicate via haunting flute music. But for Nia, the boy becomes an anchor point and the two soon become almost like family. It is soon clear that the boy has a lot of gifts and the two are soon working together to solve complications that may have universe-altering stakes. As the gravity of the complication become apparent, Jimenez writes of science fiction elements such as interpersonal dynamics in the crew of starships and the corporate future of space settlement.

Simon Jimenez’s novel “The Vanished Birds” is exceptional for its complex and deep web of relationships and characters. The novel is set in rich settings that only grow richer and more intricate over the course of the novel even as the characters are challenged, confronted and grow alongside their love, hate, hopes, and fears. Through the novel, we get to see new advancements and technologies, visit new stars and worlds which the author then combines with the tales of the leads having to confront a complicated future. The novel will make you cry as it tells of the importance of every story no matter how inconsequential the character may seem. Jimenez tells the background of his characters including the pain, the frustrations, banality, hardships, torture, quirks, contradiction, and personalities that force them to overcome, change or grow. Even in a future where the world is no more, the story of humanity is a combination of overlapping stories that bump, nudge, and touch each other. Even in interstellar space and time, in distant stars and planets, we are all connected. The idea of interconnectedness is clearly shown in the last several chapters closing the loop as the different story threads come together and the characters find each other.

“The Vanished Birds” by Simon Jimenez is a novel told from the point of view of Kaeda. Through the eyes of Kaeda who was left behind, we get a look into the life of the lead character Nia Imani. She had left Kaeda on some backwater planet where offworlders visit every fifteen years to harvest whatever resources they can find. Nia captains a super light and super-fast space ship that travels the lengths of space with ease. While Kaeda lives for fifteen years Nia spends only a few months harvesting resources and shipping them for the Umbai Company. It is not until a strange boy drops from the skies and onto Kaeda’s planet that Nia becomes interested in the planet and forms a connection she finds impossible to break. The strange boy is mute but he is a great musician and is always singing a traditional work song “Take my day but give me the night.” Kaeda schools the boy who soon learns to play the flute that he uses to form a strong emotional connection with Nia. But there is something different about the boy from the skies that gets Fumiko Nakajima interested. She had been the designer of the massive space stations that are the backbone of the huge Umbai corporate empire in the skies. It is something sinister and even dangerous that could radically transform the universe. The novel spans millennia and takes its readers from the Old Earth cities that had ultimately been submerged to the vast reaches of a huge interstellar corporate empire. Nonetheless, it is always about human connection.

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