The premise of The Wannoshay Cycle might be familiar to some readers: alien refugees from a dying world crash land on Earth. But whereas some authors would use that premise to explore the flash and glitter of aliens and spaceships, Jasper uses it to explore humanity.
His heroes are a single mother with a sick child, a priest fighting to hold on to his faith, a young drug addict and filmmaker ... real people, each one affected in different ways by the arrival of the Wannoshay. The mother fears for her job as the U.S. government attempts to integrate the Wannoshay into the factory where she works. The priest must find his role when he's brought in to speak to the Wannoshay about faith.
One example of Jasper's skill is the way his characters react the first time they meet the Wannoshay. For most, there's a moment of instinctive fear and panic. The Wannoshay are something outside of our experience. Millions of years of evolution have done nothing to prepare us for the truly alien, and that moment of first contact is overwhelming. While it might be less glamorous than the heroic explorer who meets a new race without a glimmer of fear, Jasper's version is far more believable.
The plot is a bit light compared to some SF fare. There are no space battles, no desperate race to save mankind from destruction. Much of the book feels almost leisurely as we learn about the characters and the Wannoshay's struggle against cultists and racism, not to mention the mysterious ailment plaguing their race. It is this ailment that drives the plot, as our characters learn more about the choices the Wannoshay made when they left their world.
Jasper has clearly spent a great deal of time developing the Wannoshay and their culture. The result is an interesting book, and a perceptive examination of how America might react to the arrival of such refugees.