Rejoice, a Knife to the Heart


A Provocative, beautiful and visionary novel of first contact by New York Times Best Selling Author Steven Erikson

Imagine a First Contact without contact, and an alien arrival where no aliens show up.

Imagine the sudden appearance of exclusion zones all over the planet, into which no humans are allowed. Imagine an end to all violence, from the school yard bully to nations at war. Imagine an end to borders, an end to all crime. Imagine a world where hate has no outlet and the only harm one can do is to oneself.

Leaders of governments are not in the loop. Scientists have no answers. The military’s hardware has stopped working. We’re calling, but ET’s not answering.

Imagine a world transformed, but with no guidance and no hint of what’s coming next. What would you do? How would you feel? What questions can you ask–what questions dare you ask–when the only possible answers come from the all-too-human face in your mirror?

On the day of First Contact, it won’t be about them. It will be about us.


Here’s what readers say: 

“Steven Erikson hasn’t just reinvigorated the first-contact novel, he’s reinvented it. This is a wholly original book, brilliantly conceived and flawlessly executed, with a fascinating central conceit related to curbing human violence. A masterpiece.” 


“The Prime Directive is nonsense!’
The aliens have come to save the Earth. From us…
Steven Erikson, master of high fantasy, has delivered an SF novel with the highest of high concepts. And it’s no fantasy. Think Childhood’s End meets The Day After Tomorrow.
An El Nino of a book, dense, provocative, essential.
And ask yourself this: if you had the power of the Benefactors, what would you do?”


“The SF book of the year, maybe the decade. Will make you long for an alien invasion. I loved it.”


“Steven Erikson has one of the finest minds alive. Nothing less could have produced The Malazan Book of the Fallen. Now, in Rejoice: A Knife to the Heart, Erikson shows us what he sees when he considers the future of humanity. He calls it a thought experiment. I call it an important book.” 


“Rejoice: A Knife to the Heart is a novel for the ages, a classic that will be read and admired for many years to come for the persuasive courage of its convictions. Erikson takes on philosophy, religion, politics, science, war and peace, humility and hubris, all couched in a First Contact novel where the aliens come to Earth with the best of intentions, and humanity just might survive them.
Told in a voice that carries power and conviction, Rejoice: A Knife to the Heart reminds us that the very best of science fiction has the will and the power to convincingly comment on today’s societal ills and on tomorrow’s possibilities.”

Rick Wilber

“Contact stories have been a staple of science fiction for about as far back as the genre goes. Unfortunately, for the most part they have typically been tackled as a normal terrestrial military contact or clash (an action narrative), or as criminal activities (a mystery, or whodunit narrative).

Steven Erikson, however, delves deeply into the philosophical and existential questions the term “contact” implies. Here we encounter aliens who are actually, truly, alien, not just stand-ins for those beyond our borders, or another tribe or group. This is startling and thought-provoking stuff – just what science fiction should be. Read it and try to think as you once did about, well, anything. Go on. I dare you.”


“Finally, an alien invasion apocalypse I can get behind. Erikson pulls no punches in this absolutely cutting look at where humanity is at, where we’re going, and the monumental changes that need to happen to pull us out of our death spiral. Rejoice I did at this thrilling tale masterfully told.”


“In Rejoice, Steven Erikson takes the varied viewpoints and clever worldbuilding showcased in the Malazan series and applies it close to home, twisting the first-contact premise to highlight our struggles and suggest possible solutions. As a study of humanity’s strengths and flaws, this latest novel stands out for its pointedness and its rich blend of the fantastic and the literary.”


“A stunning work of literature.”