Escape Velocity

A twisty new near-future genre-bending thriller: Knives Out in space with a Parasite twist.

A decades-old murder looms over the glamorous clientele of a high-end space hotel . . . while an unforeseen threat percolates in the service corridors. The guests are about to experience the hospitality they deserve.

Space Habitat Altaire is the premier luxury resort in low Earth orbit, playground of the privileged and the perfect location to host reunions for the Rochford Institute. Rochford boasts only the best: the wealthiest, most promising students with the most impressive pedigrees. Complete with space walks, these lavish reunions are a prime opportunity for alumni to jockey for power with old friends and rivals—and crucially, to advance their applications to live in an exclusive Mars settlement. Earth is dying, and only the best deserve to save themselves.

Aboard the Altaire for their 25th reunion, finance magnate Ava pursues the truth about her brother’s murder during their senior year, which cast a dark shadow over their time at Rochford. Laz, ambassador and political scion, hopes to finally win Ava’s heart. Sloane, collecting secrets to conceal his family’s decline, angles for a key client. And Henry, heir to a healthcare empire, creates an unorthodox opportunity to get to Mars in a last-ditch effort to outrun a childhood secret.

While these erstwhile friends settle scores and rack up points, they fail to notice that other agendas are afoot at the Space Habitat Altaire, and their own futures aren’t the only ones at stake—“the best” will soon regret underestimating those they would leave behind on Earth.


"Manibo (The Sleepless) ingeniously melds genres in this suspenseful sci-fi mystery set in 2089.... As in the best mysteries, Manibo never allows his plot twists to come at the expense of character development."

Publisher's Weekly, STARRED review!

"Manibo (The Sleepless) pens a novel full of twists and turns, with broad appeal. Sci-fi, dystopian, and mystery fans will all find something to enjoy, while the posh setting and elite players give an unexpected air of palace intrigue that could rival Game of Thrones."

Library Journal

"The class warfare in space stays at a low simmer until the end of “Escape Velocity,” but when it begins to boil, it’s immensely satisfying."

Washington Post

"Manibo limns the main characters deftly and colorfully [...] Escape Velocity reads like an amalgam of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History with Edward Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang and Nathaniel West’s The Day of the Locust. If you season the mix with a soupçon of Heinlein’s The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, filtered through a Che Guevara lens, you’ll have the winning recipe."


"This book is my summer 2024 beach read recommendation for those who enjoy a thriller romp that is playful and engaging."

Multiverse Philly

"A high-stakes sci-fi mystery—Foundation if it were written by Agatha Christie—Escape Velocity is an energetic and unforgettable page-turner, deftly honoring the genres it blends together while feeling vibrant and strikingly relevant. Perfect for fans of noir and thoughtful speculative fiction."

Alex Segura, bestselling author of Secret Identity

"Dancing effortlessly between present and past mysteries, Escape Velocity serves up opulent privilege with deadly secrets. A must-read."

Mur Lafferty, Hugo Award winner and author of Station Eternity

“A murder mystery by way of Karl Marx, Escape Velocity is a spicy thriller about what we all secretly wish would happen to billionaires in space. Victor Manibo has given us a delightful, disturbing gift. I really loved this novel and its exquisitely-drawn cast of villains.”

Annalee Newitz, Lambda Award-winning author of Autonomous

“Searing social commentary, expert worldbuilding, and unforgettable characters . . . Victor Manibo remains one of the most exciting new voices working in fiction today.”

Rob Hart, author of Assassins Anonymous and The Warehouse

“Victor Manibo excels at the kind of extrapolation that makes near-future science fiction so interesting. What happens when being a ‘have’ instead of a ‘have not’ entitles you to not just the Earth's resources, but also those of space? What can money and clout buy, and what can’t be bought? With intrigue, murder, and machinations aplenty, Manibo never lets his characters or his readers off the hook.”

Sarah Pinsker, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of A Song For A New Day and Lost Places

"Manibo is that rare writer who can put a reader out among the stars but keep the focus on human trauma and scandal. Escape Velocity is a scintillating reminder that in space, everyone knows who your sidepiece is."

Meg Elison, winner of the Hugo, Locus, and Philip K. Dick Awards