Aliens find their quiet lives thrown into turmoil when humans explore their planet in Bailey's SF debut.
Kelvoo is a member of a peaceful, genderless species on the planet Kuw'baal. The kloormari's intricate bodies—a mushroomlike eye at the top and double-jointed limbs with paddles for hands—make them expert multitaskers. As such, they don't rely on modern technology and are shocked when humans from planet Terra (aka Earth) send a surveillance drone to their planet. Next, humans come in an even bigger ship, and although Kelvoo and other kloormari find the visitors "hideous," they aren't threatening. They teach the kloormari all about the Terran language (of which there seems to be only one),food, culture, and unfamiliar concepts, such as imagination and fictional stories. Sadly, a later group of humans isn't as amiable; they trick nine kloormari, including Kelvoo, into joining a phony mission, enslave them, and show them some of the worst that humanity has to offer. Kelvoo and the others, pushed to the brink, find a way to escape their plight so they can get home. But will Kuw'baal be the same place they left behind? Aside from the preface, the entire narrative is made up of Kelvoo's autobiographical account, featuring straightforward observations in simple, unadorned prose. Kelvoo's willingness to accommodate Terrans' unusual customs makes the protagonist endearing, and there are some lighthearted moments, as when kloormari become fascinated by Terran-provided Infotab tablets. The kloormari, who live up to a few centuries and birth offspring in just weeks, prove fascinating in their own right. Bailey's message is blunt but affecting, as the humans cheat, rebuke, and subjugate a species that they don't bother to understand, and readers will find it painful to watch the kloormari suffer such cruelty. However, the author also rounds out his novel with delightful details, including hints of other species who are part of a Planetary Alliance.
A simple but profound futuristic story of the painful effects of colonization.
The International Review of Books This is the story of Kelvoo, an androgynous alien from a place called Kuw'baal where no human beings exist. However, that changes when humans arrive and begin to share their knowledge along with their desire to learn more about these alien life forms. What follows is an epic journey for Kelvoo and his "friends" as they are tricked into going on a vessel bound for nefarious purposes and not for furthering the cause of altruism.
An extremely well written and imaginative story describing in detail the minds and emotions of those different from human beings. As they encounter kindness as well as cruelty, the story brings to life the possibility of exploring how others think and react to how WE think and react.
The author has an extraordinary imagination that takes my breath away. To conjure up not only the ruminations of these creatures but also the physical components as they protect each other, rejuvenate and even give birth! A testament to the author's ability to bring every nuance to life in vivid detail for us.
Not just good - It's extremely well-written! This is an exceptionally good book that manages to bring new life to the venerable theme of "first contact from a non-human viewpoint". Speculative fiction is often judged by the author's imagination and the intriguing concepts that they bring to the page, and Kelvoo's Testimonial has all of that. But what makes this book exceptional is the extremely high quality of Phil Bailey's writing. He has a voice and a style that grabbed me immediately, and if I hadn't started reading it in the morning I really would have been up all night finishing it.
Honestly: I almost made the mistake of passing on this book because I've suffered through too many "indie" books that, while well-intentioned, just didn't deliver the goods. Don't make that mistake here - this is The Real Thing. If you don't believe me, believe those Kirkus people who gave the book a starred review.
I'll close by mentioning that, while Kelvoo is a well-drawn and likeable character who is innocent (but most definitely not clueless), I'd like to see the author write more about the kloormari lawyer character (whose name I will not mention because *spoilers*). A kloormari attorney on the warpath would be a wonderous and terrifying thing to see.
How They See Us – An Alien Perspective An autobiography (even a fictional sci-fi autobiography), if written honestly, is going to reveal the truth about its narrator and the narrator’s perception of others (i.e., humans, in this case): the bad, the good, the ugly, and the beautiful. The narrator in this case is Kelvoo, an alien from the pristine planet, Kuw’baal, and a member of the Kloormari species.
Sam Buchanan, a human who will become Kelvoo’s best friend, describes the Kloormari in his Preface to Kelvoo’s Testimonial as “unparalleled multi-taskers.” The Kloormari are blessed with extremely versatile bodies, photographic memory, unlimited vocal range, a seemingly infinite ability to learn complex information and to apply acquired knowledge with staggering speed and efficiency.
The Kloormari are also innocent as children. Imagination, passion, ambition, greed, deception, love, hate, all those complex and paradoxical emotions and qualities that both doom and elevate humans are completely foreign to them. That is, until a human research vessel lands on Kuw’baal and makes First Contact with this interesting species. And though the first humans Kelvoo and his species encounter are well-meaning and make a favorable impression, the Kloormari eventually become vulnerable to less honorable humans (and also become more humanlike, for better or worse), leading to a series of disorienting and traumatic events.
This futuristic tale is eminently contemporary, concerned with destructive human behaviors such as war, drug addiction, sex trafficking, economic exploitation, bigotry, replacement theory, and so on. Bailey skillfully weaves into the story detailed technical material and creative world building to please even the most demanding hard sci-fi fan. But he has also created an alien species that can move the human heart to laughter or tears.
Yes, this is the alien Kelvoo’s testimonial, but it’s really about us, the people we choose to be and the way we choose to engage the universe and those who are different from us. Will we be guided by our better angels, or by our demons? That’s a choice each of us has to make.
he Rare Scifi Story Told Entirely through Alien Eyes that does Everything Just Right. The author has perfectly crafted the voice of Kelvoo: an alien perspective 'assisted' by a human in translating their story into human terms. One could sense the 'otherness' of the alien’s thoughts coming through the text. At no point did I lose immersion in the story, and I was eager to continue from chapter to chapter to see what would happen next as the aliens discovered they weren’t alone in the universe.
Kelvoo is a strong protagonist, one who from the first is proactive in their choices in making their fate. I wasn't sure how I could related to an alien mind, but after the first chapter the naivete of Kelvoo had charmed me, due to their innate goodness. The other characters (human and alien both) were for the most part distinct and well-rounded individuals. I suspect it was rather difficult for the author to distinguish the various Kloormari from one another, yet he managed it deftly with skill.
World-wise, the stages are small, which kept the story tight and focused on the characters, not the scenery. This lets the reader stay immersed in the Here and Now, so they don't get distracted by exterior / scene descriptions. The settings were intriguing, from the odd placidity of the alien home planet to the scenes set on human spaceships, among other places. All of them felt organic to the story and characters.
I did find the themes in the last third of the book a touch on the nose, but none of it detracted from the story, and was integral to the experience of Kelvoo. The experience of discovering worlds beyond your own was well-crafted, with the journey a satisfying, sensible one done with aplomb.
Pacing and plot need little comment: solid all the way through, with no dull or expected turns. All the exposition was long enough to cover what was needful, while not waxing overlong, which would have detracted from the adventure.
In closing: it was a great read, and I look forward to a sequel.
Takes on a life of its own as an awesome fictional story with modern day existentialism I absolutely loved reading this book ! Extremely thought-provoking.
Witnessing the human condition for the first time through a totally different set of eyes, values, and ideas gives plenty of opportunity for reflection and relevant conversations. And simultaneously takes us on a totally far out sci-fi adventure. Perfect mix of real life and fantasy qualities. Amazing characters, details, and blunt force truth.
You are in for a ride! Enjoy!
Thoroughly Enjoyed! I thoroughly enjoyed Kelvoo's Testimonial. It's written in an autobiographical format from the alien's perspective. It's a thought provoking view of colonialism that contains enough action/drama and allows the reader to identify with the writer (even though an alien...).
A new favorite of mine Very imaginative, well written and, best of all, spot on with how human would do interstellar exploration. From the curious benevolent scientists to the sociopathic space pirates, the Kloormars see the paradox of humanity.
Loved it! I enjoyed reading this book so much! It was so interesting to see everything from the alien's point of view and the pictures of the alien helped me see how they were able to do what they did throughout the book. This is one of those stories that made an emotional impression on me that will be hard to forget. I can't wait to read the next one!
One of my new favourite books! TL;DR: This book is thought-provoking, humorous, and heart-wrenching. There's action and philosophical aspects and an incredible alien culture to learn about. Kelvoo’s journey is remarkably relatable and I read this book for hours at a time.
This book is a must for those that enjoy diving into and exploring new worlds and cultures. Beyond the thoroughly-developed universe that Bailey has created, this novel investigates how the main character Kelvoo, a member of a non-human species, learns about and experiences the best and worst of humanity. The trials that Kelvoo goes through is very thought provoking and the journey is incredible. Kelvoo starts as a naive creature who has barely experienced hardship, never mind evil, and through terrible events gains an outlook and emotions that he nor his species has ever had before.
Bailey's novel is very engaging, and the story has a unique perspective being told from Kelvoo's point of view.
A very unique concept and setting Phil Bailey has created such a unique species in the Klormari, and a very imaginative backdrop to tell Kelvoo's story. Kelvoo and their fellow Klormari are the perfect, completely innocent and unbiased observers of the human condition. Over the course of the novel, through this neutral observer, Phil is able to examine many complex modern societal issues in a very entertaining way.
The universe that Kelvoo inhabits is very intriguing and I hope that we will be able to read more about this universe in the hopefully inevitable sequel.
Not a science fiction reader, but I really enjoyed this story. I'm not a reader of science fiction, but I really enjoyed this story and now I'm eager to read more. I enjoyed the story about a newly discovered planet and species, their introduction to humans and the adventures and misadventures that followed. I thought it was well written, interesting and thought provoking. I look forward to reading Phil Bailey's next book.
Brilliant first novel It’s a deep dive into the human condition seen through the eyes of a unique alien race. Reminiscent of Frank Herbert at his best. Enjoyed it thoroughly.
Great Story A fantastic first novel gripping and absorbing from start to finish.
What readers are saying about KELVOO'S TERRA...
Oh my..... Such a good sequel....reminds me of our current political environment and how close we are to this kind of self destruction. I loved everything about this book, especially the ending. I'm so glad I found a new author to follow.
One of my all-time favourite science fiction novels Kelvoo's Testimonial and this sequel, Kelvoo's Terra, stands out among all the recent books I've read. I enjoyed these books so much that this is actually my first book review on Amazon.
Phil Bailey uses his imagination to create an alien protagonist through whose eyes a well paced, engaging, and moving plot unfolds.
I look forward to more books in the series.
Excellent sequel! I enjoyed this sequel even more than the original. The universe and characters are more developed. The plot is relatable and there’s enough drama to keep you riveted.
Note:Kelvoo's Terra was released in October, 2023 - More reviews will be added as they become available.