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YouTuber Lindsay Ellis and Her Debut Novel, “Axiom’s End”

Axiom’s End | Photo by Kayli Thompson | The Wright State Guardian


“Axiom’s End“, by Lindsay Ellis released on July 21 and follows a young adult woman who becomes the sole point of communication between humans and aliens in an alternate 2007. 

Cora Sabino is a 21-year-old college dropout who wants nothing to do with her narcissist father, a whistle-blower who has developed a zealous fan base after leaking top-secret government documents.

However, when she accidentally stumbles upon a real-life alien, whom she calls Ampersand, she forms an unlikely alliance and becomes its interpreter for the US government. This reimagining of alien first-contact during the tail end of the Bush era is a premise that has a unique feeling of nostalgia for early 2000s alien movies.  

Axiom’s End is also about empathy, and, if you read between the lines, the ways human societies interact with and subjugate other humans.

The themes and tropes explored in the book aren’t in any way new to the genre, but the combination of them all is written in a way that any millennial sci-fi movie fan can recognize and enjoy. For the more experienced sci-fi fan, this book will cover a lot of the same ground that other, more popular, science fiction has explored.

However, even with its pitfalls, this first book in a series lays down a lot of interesting groundwork that future books will be able to explore in more depth.  

For readers who don’t traditionally read sci-fi, this may seem like a somewhat intimidating and complex book. Reading about the complex dynamics and social hierarchies of an alien civilization even lost me a few times.

But if you’re a fan of “Transformers”, “The Shape of Water” or “Arrival” – which, I promise, is all related – and would like to read a combination of those three, then you will absolutely enjoy this. Fans of Ellis’ work will immediately recognize her inspiration and laugh at the inside jokes sprinkled in, but even if you are not familiar with her, this is still a fun, and at times funny, read.  

There’s a running gag that YouTuber’s only write books to make more money and a book written by any of them isn’t worth reading. However, I would argue that Ellis’ book is a great example of why that isn’t the case.

While it explores the possibility of an apocalyptic war between humans and aliens, it also delves into the friendship and blossoming, slow-burn romance between Cora and Ampersand. Ellis has been able to create an interesting and engaging book that leaves readers excited to see what happens next. 

Ellis is most well-known for her YouTube channel where she makes long-form video essays about everything from Disney to Transformers to the Omegaverse lawsuit, and recently reached 1 million subscribers.

Her most popular work is the three-part documentary on The Hobbit movie trilogy, which was a finalist for the 2019 Hugo Award for Best Related Work. She’s also the co-host of PBS’s YouTube web series, “It’s Lit!”, where she co-writes videos about trends in American literature. 

 “Axiom’s End” is available at libraries and wherever books are sold.