Review: Intraterrestrial by Nicholas Conley

IntraterrestrialDisclaimer: I received a free electronic version of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.


This is one of those speculative fiction books whose actually genre is hard to pin down. Though the medical issues lend a realistic air to the story, the adventure Adam embarks on feels more like science-fantasy than traditional science-fiction. At times, I even considered whether I’d misinterpreted the back cover description and that I was actually enjoying magical realism instead. But when one of the major story point of views is an unreliable narrator due to his traumatic brain injury (TBI), you’re forced to sit back and enjoy the epic ride rather than analyzing the story’s structural supports. 

Are the Star Voice/alien/journey through outer (and inner) space real, then? It doesn’t matter. The author’s stunning use of imagery brings both the fantastical space scenes and the harsh reality of the hospital to life. At times, however, some lovely turns of phrase feel more like authorial insertion than the realistic point of view of a 13-year-old boy, even an exceptionally smart and nerdy one.

On occasion, the more other-worldly scenes got oddly meta when the aliens refer specifically to Adam’s TBI. It came close to pulling me out of the story when I was no longer sure whether the “imagination” conceit was literal rather than metaphorical. But the action and pace always dragged me back in right away.

The scenes with Adam’s mother Camille should have seemed boring and dull in comparison to Adam’s journey. On the contrary, her character arc and voice were just as engrossing. The ending to both character’s journeys tied up neatly, but still packed a satisfying emotional wallop.

Rating: 4 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

Published by steelvictory

By day, J. L. Gribble is a professional medical editor. By night, she does freelance fiction editing in all genres, along with reading, playing video games, and occasionally even writing. Her debut novel, STEEL VICTORY, was her thesis novel for Seton Hill University's Writing Popular Fiction graduate program in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Previously, she was one of the co-editors for FAR WORLDS, a speculative fiction anthology. She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, with her husband and three vocal Siamese cats. Find her online (www.jlgribble.com), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/jlgribblewriter), and on Twitter and Instagram (@hannaedits). She is currently working on more tales set in the world of Limani.

Join the Conversation

2 Comments

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: