Here is the recent review:
"Some spoilers below...Read with caution!
This was a fascinating book by first-time-published author, Stan Smith. What I particularly enjoyed was how quickly the book introduces action and conflict; this makes for a story that is riveting and engaging.
The setting of the book is different from a lot of books I've read lately, and I loved learning about Papua and the impact of anthropology and diffusion. What costs come with our interactions with other cultures? When we visit another country and civilization, is it only for our own needs? What happens when we make assumptions of those with beliefs and practices different than ours?
Smith explores these questions using elements of science fiction that I found to be unique and interesting. Using science fiction to investigate and address real-life issues is just one of the many ways that this book transcends multiple genres. Quentin, his family, and a small group of students start out as relatively naive characters with the goal of exploring another culture. After a mysterious plane crash, the characters quickly learn that their assumptions, mindsets, and previous ways of living must be discarded in order to try to understand their new situation and to adapt to their surroundings. Their arrival in this unfamiliar territory is devastating not only for themselves, but also for the tribe they encounter.
In this novel, the "end of the world" is presented in many ways: the death of loved ones, the end of a culture, the end of previous ways of living, the end of one's previously formed identity, the literal ending of the world, and more. The novel is not an apocalyptic novel, but it certain has some of those influences. The end of the world is something that many of the characters express, especially those from the tribe. They are aware of this (and have been expecting it for quite some time), while Quentin and the others struggle with trying to understand and shed their preconceived notions of the world and beyond.
This inability to "let go" and to be more open-minded is also represented in the fate of Quentin's son, and it causes many fatal problems for all the characters. Those from the tribe warned Quentin and his wife about Addison, but they refused to believe them until it was far too late. Even Samuel, a character who has been with this tribe for a couple hundred years, still fails to see that he is the one who is a relic of a closed-minded and damaging culture; he may see himself as progressive, but that is hardly the case.
What I've mentioned above is just a little piece of Diffusion; this creative and fast-paced novel is sure to fascinate many readers. I'm looking forward to reading the next installment in this series!"
--reviewed by Megan McCormack