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Shh! It's a Secret: a novel about Aliens, Hollywood, and the Bartender's Guide


2014 Compton Crook Award Finalist


The Brogardi appeared out of nowhere, and—telegraphing their peaceful intentions—they landed in the middle of nowhere: New York State's Catskills Mountains resorts. It was an alien invasion, of the most peaceful, friendly kind. But there had to be something sinister behind it all, right?


Movie executive Jake Berman lives fiction for a living, promoting movies to the masses. He's happy, and only moderately harried. But his peaceful existence is thrown into overdrive when one of the aliens sets his sights beyond the decaying resorts of the east—when he decides it's time to invade Hollywood!


Daniel M. Kimmel is a film critic and professor of film. His book on the history of FOX TV, The Fourth Network received the Cable Center Book Award. His other books include a history of DreamWorks, The Dream Team, and I'll Have What She's Having: Behind the Scenes of the Great Romantic Comedies. His collection of essays, Jar Jar Binks Must Die… and other Observations about Science Fiction Movies, was a 2012 nominee for the Hugo Award for Best Related Work. He is a past president of the Boston Society of Film Critics, and current co-chair of the Boston Online Film Critics Association. This is his first novel.



"[A] freewheeling, laugh-out-loud satire of the movie industry." —Publishers Weekly


"This first novel by Kimmel… throws caution to the winds as it spins a whimsical, amiable satire on alien first encounters, the movie industry, and American society." —Library Journal


"[Kimmel's first novel is] a true joy… let's hope there are more to come." —Don Sakers, Analog Science Fiction and Fact


"This is the book we've been waiting for from Dan Kimmel—funny, knowing, fast paced, full of humor, and told with a big heart. An absolute joy." —Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of Red Planet Blues


"Dan Kimmel's first novel is a funny and delightful tour de force that will appeal to movie fans as well as science-fiction readers." —Michael A. Burstein, John W. Campbell Award-winning author of I Remember the Future


"Exceptionally funny… pretty damned spectacular… this is the funniest book of the year and one of the best debut SF novels in ages!" —Chris Garcia, The Drink Tank


"Dan Kimmel's first novel is as witty, smart, and funny as his non-fiction books. In large part, this stems from Kimmel's unrestrained sense of fun, as he takes aim at Tinseltown and scores one direct hit after another. Kimmel's love of science fiction and expertise in the genre also comes to the fore… but above all else this is a book about friendship and family.… Odd-couple antics are inevitable, but Kimmel avoids the obvious pitfalls and lays his plot more carefully than is typical for the first contact / comedy genre. The culture clashes take on a more mature cast.… Kimmel has a natural comic talent that comes through at every turn: Plotting, prose style, characters, and even the chapter names, which are borrowed from the titles of classic films.… Kimmel even comes up with a new twist on the old joke about foods that taste like chicken—to say more would be to spoil a major development.… you'll be surprised at how many cultural strands Kimmel has woven together. The laughs we can almost take for granted: Kimmel is a funny guy. What's most satisfying about this novel is that it's not just a bunch of gags strung together… rather, it's a novel first and foremost, and the way it taps into a wellspring of intelligent, family-friendly humor gives it that much more loft and speed." —Kilian Melloy, in EDGE on the Net


"A brisk fun read despite it almost being too good natured for its own good!… Shh! It's a Secret is filled with the sort of small details that makes a piece of fiction feel very real (except for the blue-skinned aliens of course). It is a brisk and light read but will keep you pressing that 'Next Page' button on your Kindle just to see what happens next." —James O'Ehley, in SciFi Movie Page


"Kimmel's debut novel is brilliant satire of the film industry, which also happens to be a hilarious, heartwarming science fiction story about unexpected friendship.… Kimmel's voice is very distinct with a droll sense of humor.… Kimmel's yarn is a fast-paced, enjoyable read that bounces between several exciting locations: Los Angeles, New York City, and yes even the Catskills. There's also amazing suspense in the build up to the premiere of Abe's film. What's most surprising though, is the touching friendship that slowly develops between Abe and Jake." —Evan Crean, in


"Kimmel is no stranger to the movie industry or science fiction, and it shows in nearly every page of the novel.… The story casts a light-hearted, satirical eye on the foibles of Hollywood, showing a keen understanding of the industry. The humor is slow cooked rather than rapid-fire, mature rather than juvenile.… Shh! It's a Secret is a wacky first contact story that could only happen in Hollywood. It is the sort of novel that will appeal to a broad readership, especially those who enjoy a witty Hollywood yarn or a humorous science fiction tale. Shh! stands as the funniest mix of film making and first contact since William Tenn gave the Venusians the Hollywood treatment in Venus and the Seven Sexes." —David Kilman, in Amazing Stories

SHH! IT'S A SECRET by Daniel M. Kimmel

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