HomeHoward's book reviews

Howard Cincotta

On Eëlios, the rainforest is like nothing on earth, extending more than a kilometer into the sky. In an effort to escape his dangerous past, Leyden signs up for a biological expedition to this remarkable planet, traveling across the universe through wormholes known as Illium portals. But when the mission is sabotaged, Leyden and the others must struggle to survive in a race through the harrowing rapids of the Whitebone River, fighting off pterodactyl-like creatures as well as attacks from a rival expedition. 

But Leyden suspects Eëlios holds more than biological diversity. What is the mystery that has attracted such attention from the space-spanning corporations known as chaebols and the deadly drug triads? Woven throughout the story is the incredible proliferation of life in the high-canopy rainforest and the growing desire between Leyden and Sylla, healer and consort of the Eëlian monarch. 

Climbing the Rain is a powerful story of love and adventure set in an unforgettable world of unending wonder.

Howard Cincotta is a freelance writer who served as an editor and writer with the U.S. Information Agency and the State Department for many years. At USIA, he worked on magazines for Africa and the former Soviet Union and directed a special publications unit. He later headed an electronic-media office and wrote speeches for State Department officials. 

His short stories have appeared in a number of literary journals.

Howard grew up in California and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. He lives with his wife, artist Deborah Conn, in Falls Church, Virginia. He has two sons and a daughter.

Double click here to add text.

Perched on the edge of the solar system, the Illium Archipelago has drastically changed humankind’s destiny. Leyden, a disgraced businessman with a weakness for the ladies, is sprung from prison by a Rigelian syndicate so that his negotiating skills can help the dubious “Eëlios Biological Mission.” 

His trek to a seldom visited, remote planet is part of their plan to exploit the planet’s fertile rainforest. The century-old “native” colony on Eëlios—they’re green-skinned folk who dwell in the giant forest canopy—uneasily embrace Leyden, who begins to transform bodily and emotionally. 

While very little happens that can’t be predicted (or storyboarded for Hollywood), Cincotta’s novel ably guides the reader through a verdure of lush landscapes featuring sketches of borderline-pulp characters, including double-dealing warriors and a seductress. 

The exotic deep-space adventure echoes genre landmarks, notably James Cameron’s Avatar and the like, while one of his supporting characters shares a similar name with Hayao Miyazaki’s eco-friendly heroine Nausicaa (or perhaps her Greek forebear from The Odyssey). Still, the derivatives seldom wilt the basic entertainment factor of this well-cultivated yarn.

Tree-hugging sci-fi—familiar stuff that still grows on you.