Review: The Hermit Next Door by Kevin Hearne

Posted June 25, 2024 by Lucy D in Book Reviews, SciFi / 0 Comments

Review:  The Hermit Next Door by Kevin HearneThe Hermit Next Door by Kevin Hearne
Published by Subterranean Press on June 30th 2024
Genres: SciFi
Pages: 96
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley
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I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Kevin Hearne, author of the acclaimed Iron Druid Chronicles, returns with an otherworldly new novella! Newly widowed and trying to cope with her grief, Winnie Mae Chisholm moves from Tennessee with her teenage son, Pax, to Oregon, hoping the change will let them both heal and move on. She's warned when buying their new home that the next door neighbor, Mr. Fisher, is a famous recluse and no one has seen him in years, but that's fine with her--she's looking for quiet. She's not going to get it, however, because when Pax meets the neighbor, he discovers that the reason Mr. Fisher hides from the world is that he isn't actually from this world. He's been stranded for decades and he's trying to get home, and he could really use some help. Abruptly part of the best-kept secret on the planet, Winnie Mae and Pax have to protect Mr. Fisher from a nosy neighbor who would ruin his work and doom him to die among aliens, but they also have to ask themselves: How far would they go to escape their grief? Would another world be far enough?


I love Kevin Hearne’s writing and his creative stories but this was disappointing.

After reading the entire Seventh Kennings series, as well as the Iron Druid, I know how creative Kevin Hearne is in his world-building so why are his SciFi stories kind of lackluster?

I grabbed a copy thinking this would be an E.T. type story where a widowed mother and son step in for Elliot and his family trying to help the mysterious, next-door neighbor, Mr. Fisher return home. While Mr. Fisher isn’t from here, he isn’t from space either. Mr. Fisher is from an alternate Earth universe.  Oooo-kay?  One where his species adapted to the intelligent life form and there are no humans. He still learned very quickly how dangerous humans are which is why he made sure he was never seen.

Mr Fisher is a traveler in his world or quantum ranger, adventuring out to other dimensions to see if there is anything interesting so he can report back to his alternate Earth. Once the traveler gets to the new dimension, he needs to build a quantum displacement matrix in order to return home. By the time he meets Mrs. Chisholm and Pax, he is almost ready to return home and has very little left to do. I know this is a short-story but he barely needs help at this point in his return home so Mrs. Chisholm and Pax  are pretty superfluous for his return home.   We could have sped up time with a “…this was how every day went for the next several months…”

I was thankful that this was only 90 pages since as soon as I heard what Mr. Fisher is, I began to lose interest.  It’s funny how a more intelligent species from outer space, is more believable to a normally adorable fluffy creature, which is made much larger than the creature we know and vastly more intelligent than we are, which seems ridiculous.  Mr. Fisher is a more intelligent than your average human, managing to sell his advanced energy producing products to sustain himself while he hides among the humans, but not realizing that selling those simple, clean energy products to gas companies would see them scraped so that companies can continuing producing their lucrative gasoline products.

While they are also top of the food chain on their Earth, they still share the planet with some types of dinosaurs and simply avoid crossing paths with them. Why didn’t they do more to contain these dangerous predators? Maybe they don’t want to eradicate another creature but he indicated that they don’t have any type of flight available since anything going higher than the treetops would come to the attention of flight-capable dinosaurs.

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Sadly, this was disappointing as we don’t get much story involving working with Mr. Fisher.  There is nothing too much about Mr.’s Fisher’s advanced technology.  Nor do we really build any connection between Mrs. Chilholm, Pax and Mr. Fisher.

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