Casindra Lost

Casindra Lost ISBN: 9781708810108, first published and copyright by Supres Inc. written by Marti Ward,

This book is part of the Last Missions Series of The Paradisi Series with acknowledgements first to “the effort and support of those who created and opened up the Paradisi Universe to all writers of whatever background, experience and genre” and to the author’s “teachers from science to philosophy, linguistics, to psychology, geology to biology, mathematics to neuroscience” and to her students “across these and all the Sciences, Technology, Mathematics & Engineering (STEM) disciplines.” The reference is to a relatively large series of sci-fi stories. The basis of the stories is about the imminent destruction of Earth. For too many years its population had been derelict in taking even nominal care of the planet and as a result it was on an escalating path to ultimate destruction. In 2025 ten men and women, all tremendously wealthy and powerful leaders in various areas of commerce, decided to become the Founders of the Paradisi Project. Because of anticipated interference from various forces on Earth, supposedly their activity was investigating the feasibility of establishing colonies on the Moon and Mars. Actually, they were setting up and colonizing New Eden, a Planet in the Andromeda Galaxy that scientists recently had discovered and deemed able to support human life. The colony was to survive and grow by the passing down of the basic goals from family to family, all acting in concert with the Council of Ten. This volume details the activities of Commander Jerome Sideris who captains the first intergalactic craft through a devised wormhole to the new planet and his exploratory activities. On its face, the project was an altruistic experiment to save the human race. Because of the secrecy and selective membership involved, the thought also might arise that it could be a conspiracy to save ten of the richest families on Earth – the Founders and their proposed selection of inhabitants of this new world. Henry Thorndike, was the autocratic leader that had gathered a group of authorities in their specialties. They were Dr. Abramov, an AI specialist in charge of Solar System Security (CIA type), Dr. Aditya Ganesh, Intelligence systems, and Medical Authority Dr. Sabina Gunther. Commander Jerome Sideris, a stalwart and probably the most knowledgeable of all of their possible selections, was given command of the first exploratory vessel and sets off. Regrettably and for undisclosed reason other than he was known as a ‘loner’ his only crew consisted of AI’s of various levels. However, Sideris’ main companion was the thoroughly trained top level AI he, as well as the Commander, referred to as ‘Al’ and an empathetic relationship develops. He also befriends a male and female cat who are part of the experimental selection of animals, birds and marine life that was incorporated in this exploratory event. Unexpected atmospheric problems ensue, Sideris is badly injured and ‘Al’ must assume command until he can be fully repaired by the on-board medical AI’s. Because simultaneously the Founders group back home are facing unexpected difficulties with a strike by different levels of AI’s to which legally they must respond, they misinterpret messages sent back to headquarters as demonstrative of ‘AL’ going rogue. So their action is to disregard further messages and dispatch another ship on the same journey. This ship, the Moraturi and its journey, follows as the second book in this series.

Discussion: The author has set forth an interesting sci-fi tale with abundant psychological overtones that provides the reader with an opportunity to see how people with little knowledge can make decisions and act authoritatively too quickly and especially without sufficient information. Regrettably such decisions all too frequently are made with dependence on a single purportedly authoritative opinion. One such decision, for example, Intelligence systems authority Ganesh’s apparent original decision to send a full ship with only one human and not even a backup Executive Officer in the chain of command on a three and one-half year, 2500000 light year mission would not appear to be a sound decision under any circumstances.

5* for sci-fi aficionados; fascinating psychological aspects.

Hairbag Nation

HairBag Nation Amazon Digital Services LLC copyright and written by Robert L. Bryan.

This is Book 1: The Police Riot that tells a series of stories of the NYC Transit Police. The story is purported to be fiction, but obviously contains non-fictional elements. Crime was rampant and the subway system even worse so that the authorities in 1983 ultimately decided to form three separate New York City police agencies – the NYC Police Dept., Transit Police Dept., Housing Police Dept. The same civil service examination was given to all applicants. Those who passed were assigned at the rate of 7 to the Police Department, 3 to the Transit Police and 1 to the Housing Police. Obviously a large degree of animosity developed among personnel of the various departments as a result of their self-assessment of importance of the various departments. This factor altered the consciousness of some of the Transit Police to the opposite of what they were meant to be. “They became lazy, cynical, contemptuous, apathetic, and indifferent. In short, they were transformed into Hairbags”, a name assigned frequently to ‘burned-out’ individuals who didn’t want to do anything and didn’t care anymore. This book is a fictionalized account of some of the resulting antics of these misfits.

Discussion: The book’s title appears to provide a suitable one in that it recounts a story of a bizarre incident occurring in NYC in 1857 that resembles the occurrences of the fictional anecdotes provided here. The author, a most creditably educated and still importantly engaged in security activities, retired Captain of the Transit Police has gathered together these vignettes that range from nonsensical to amusing to bizarre.

4* Mostly amusing collection of fictionalized stories about the NYC Transit Police.

Incite Insight

Incite Insight ISBN: 9780994439901 Tale Publishing, Australia first published 2015 written by Robert New.

The protagonist, Brad Thomas, is a young man who, in spite of somewhat lesser abilities to ‘read’ people, their expressions and body language, and postulate on possibly hidden agendas, manages to become a detective in one of the smaller cities of Australia. However he somehow manages to obtain a similar position in one of the large cities where he constantly is made to feel inferior. He has a certain personal charm, however, which provides some hope for the sergeant to whom he reports and she assigns him to a case where the victim suddenly succumbs from an apparent ‘melting’ of the brain tissues. Several more victims suffer similar occurrences and all are recognized as prominent members of ‘think tanks’ or the highly intelligent products thereof. Forensics provides basic information which allows Brad to discover a certain professor’s programs that were “designed to help its audience improve their understanding of the links between aspects of the so-called ‘human situation’. It aims to increase people’s working memory and awareness of what happens around them”; i.e. not simply make them more intelligent. There are several levels of advancement which they gradually can unlock but really need to work mentally to reach each new level. He is provided another young woman detective as a partner, and at the same time meets, and is attracted to Amy, a secretary he meets while following a prominent lead. The attraction grows as they both are studying the professor’s levels, he thinking it might aid in solving the case while her interest is a basic desire to advance in life. The tale continues as Brad engages in computer hacking to advance in the program, confers with the prominent head of an organization that provides programs for others to circumvent undesirable matters and discovers a world of secrete organizations with thoughts of world dominance they in no way consider unconscionable. Brad gains in self-confidence and makes progress with solving the mystery, but concurrently the tale assumes another, associated but somewhat different, direction to its climax.

Discussion:  Brad’s approach to solving the mystery employs an approach that is somewhat implausible and the multi-layers of the story and their juxtapositioning is a little perplexing. However, the story retains the reader’s interest, but somehow leaves, at least this reviewer, with a somewhat confused understanding of its direction from that initially provided for prospective readers.

3* Interestingly worthwhile, but somewhat confusing read.

The Origin of the Exiled Rogue

The Origin of the Exiled Rogue 2nd volume of a trilogy published copyright and written by Sandeep Adana.

This volume opens with acknowledgements followed immediately by “About the Author” explaining that he is the “Amazon #1 Bestselling Author of ‘The Codes of the Exiled Rogue’” and that “he nurtured this metaphysical and transformational fiction idea for over six years before finally publishing it in 2019.” A Prologue offers that the tale is based in the year 2038 and follows the characters introduced in the first volume from the end of that book. Further, for those readers for whom this is the first they have read of the series: “When the truth was revealed to Aurora, Tristan and Sid, it brought with it a bigger confession of a larger reality, which will form the foundation for this part. The codes guided The Host, Matthew and Zhang Wei to share truths, who made it their life’s purpose to do so with all those who were ready to receive it.” This volume then opens with Chapter 25 on August 1st, 2039: Mid-levels, Hong Kong.

The story teller comes awake in a strange but beautiful place, starts walking, and sees a male sitting on a bench. They lock eyes and the man speaks through mental telepathy. He is there to welcome this newcomer because no one else is. He informs the new arrival that they don’t use speech in this place, have no concept of time and there is no day or night, birth or death, no gender or identity. Everyone is alone here but are a connected kinfolk that manifest randomly and disappear. You can communicate with anyone or no one as you choose. We don’t know where we came from. The ground speaks to you, the wind whispers, plants and flowers murmur secrets. You become acclimated eventually. Go anywhere you want, choose what you want to do and when. The planet ensures your survival; you just leave it to her.

From this initial introduction, the reader is taken to Hong Kong in 2039 where close friends Zhang Wei and Matthew, characters apparently from the first volume in the series, are introduced and we gradually discover that The Host, who was the newcomer in the previous exchanges, now is the disseminator of a dimension of knowledge on Planet Earth they had not previously seen when considering and discussing life’s existence and problems therein. His mission was to provide groups with aspects of life from a less toxic viewpoint than he had encountered on the previous Planet Mother that seemingly were established to confuse and divide the ordinary people and establish power by bigotry. The plot continues with shifts from Earth back to Planet Mother and introduces additional characters of Tristan, Sid and Aurora who also were carry overs from the first volume, more groups are established, and the importance of the existence of love in the world of Earth is brought forth. Eventually, to fulfill a prophecy, The Host must return to Planet Mother where he prepares to leave to fulfill the prophecy of which he was unaware that he had been designated as its principle player. The enactment of the prophecy is assumed to be the subject of the next volume.

Discussion: Of most prominent importance – this is NOT a book that ‘can stand alone’. It is most strongly recommended that one read the first book in this series before continuing with the others. However, with respect to this volume. Once a reader becomes oriented into the subject of the matter presented, he/she will discover a thoroughly interesting metaphysical discussion that offers a fascinating concept of ‘what happens after death’. The main flaw encountered is the author’s explanation of the ‘thought processes’ manifested by descriptions and statements provided by individuals in the latter part of this volume versus the description of reasons The Host left Planet Mother in the first place; i.e. “His mission was to provide groups with aspects of life from a less toxic viewpoint than he had encountered on the previous Planet Mother that seemingly were being established to confuse and divide the ordinary people and establish power by bigotry” [from 3rd paragraph. above]. Reappearance of The Host on Earth planet is another point of interest that perhaps could use a little further explanation. But to reiterate, this reviewer’s comments must be considered from the perspective of a reader whose introduction to the series is the 2nd volume.

3* Fascinating metaphysical discussion; rating explained in discussion.

 

When Life Doesn’t Turn Out the Way we Hoped it Would

     When Life doesn’t turn Out the Way We’d Hoped it would ISBN: 0791973719830 Create Space Independent Publishing Copyright and written by Tom Wick.

In this 3rd book the author details his tour of duty as a young enlisted sailor aboard the USS Gridley CG-21 (West Pac 81-82 Cruise Book) that took him into the Indian Ocean during the Iran Conflict and beyond. It first presents the frequently repulsive antics engaged in by ‘old salts’ indoctrinating pollywogs into Shellback status as they “Cross the Line” (Equator) for the first time. He also describes levels of Shellbacks awards for particular crossings and certain ‘Fraternities’ for other types of crossings; e.g. crossing the Arctic Circle, Antarctic Circle, International Dateline, etc. After this test, he was awarded ‘Ship’s Liberty’ in their first port to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Pattaya Beach, Thailand in 1982. Next he describes Thailand in general, its travelogue features and those of its capital Bangkok. Numerous pictures are provided here as well as in the pages following. In the beach area, Kickboxing shows are offered at several beer bars. Go-go bars, nightclubs, and discotheques are in abundance. Sexual, as well as authentic, massage parlors also are numerous and he describes World-famous Walking Street as the center of night life, although seemingly the rest of the area was well supplied. Additionally, the reader is informed that Pattaya Beach had the second largest concentration of gay oriented enterprises in Thailand with Bangkok the largest. Besides Tuk-Tuk busses (pictures included), there was cheap public passenger pickups called songthaews or baht-busses because Thai currency is the baht and they’re cheap. Repeated accounts of his amorous escapades with his 3 lovely Thai prostitutes are provided as well as other similar escapades in the other ports covered. These other ports are Hong Kong with description of weather, demographics and points of interest as well as nearby Kowloon. Sasebo, Japan, again a complete general description and year’s weather report as well as an overview of Sasebo with a post-WWII note preceded by brief historical notes on beginnings of WWII. Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is next where travelogue descriptions again are set forth. The final port of San Diego ultimately is reached and he is met by family. The descriptions of his sexual and drug/alcohol activity, of his shipboard tasks, how the USS Gridley was named and lessons on the Geographic Coordinate System are so prominently and repeatedly described it becomes a bit annoying.

Discussion: In my review of the first book by this author (June, 2020) I wrote: “The material covered in this first book in the series presents, in quite explicit detail, quite lengthy descriptions of the repetitiously indulgent activities of the author, his family, friends and acquaintances as he moves among several locations. However, there is an overlying tone of a man somehow repentant of much of his activity and, as a result of some unnamed factor, ultimately realizing the ‘error of his ways and being ‘born again’ as a Christian. Although the causative factor is not mentioned per se, when he failed 1st grade a psychiatrist diagnosed him as having ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). This long-standing dysfunction, in combination with being brutally beaten, raped and suffering a degree of PTSD could have left him totally repentant for the meaningless sex, constant drug and alcohol abuse and the rest that caused him intense feelings of alienation, isolation, and loneliness.”

The author again has presented a book that presents a maximum amount of thought. Here he still participates in abundant sexual and drug activity “we shot some heroin, smoked some pot, and made love again.” “After our shower, we smoked some pot, got dressed and had some breakfast.” And similar phrases and sentences repetitiously are supplied, but in this volume he does not exhibit any of the repentance shown in the first book. However, the fact that a young man just barely out of his teens and with the background of family psychotic behavior, dysfunctional acquaintances from childhood, and personal problems he has encountered from a very early age, should have the tenacity of purpose to attempt to write a series of books is, at least to this reviewer, amazing. It is most unfortunate that he has not encountered an editor or other sympathetic person who would have been able to aid in his endeavors. His attempts really show promise.

3* Extremely difficult to rate; 2*- 4* dependent upon degree of analysis.

Blood and Water

Blood and Water, A Paranormal Mystery assumed published copyright and written by Caroline Ann Davis.

        Jan Martínek is a vampire, unwillingly converted by his uncle Otakar, and although married to vampire Darja who still would like to be with him, but because of their constantly occurring inter personal problems has caused them to separate for a time. Her brother Petr hates Jan and didn’t want her to marry him in the first place and wants her to return to Prague. She is in a quandary because she loves her brother as much as Jan. Right now, Jan is more or less assigned a job in America looking for Otakar and Magda who have disappeared. The pressure to find them is strong because the latter gradually has evolved to almost legendary status in vampire circles. The reader next is introduced to Kristina Benson who with her brother Kyle, live with her grandfather in the apartment over his old fashioned bookstore. The store is close to an old relic of a hotel/hospital that recently has burned to the ground. Her brother and a close friend are ‘Ghostbusters’ and went there to record ghosts reportedly living in the place and perished in the fire. Kristina has inherited psychic abilities that she refuses to follow even though she is a distant relative of Hanna Gerlach, a psychic and one of the most famous ghosts that lived there. But in spite of her reluctance, she feels a strong need to attempt to contact Kyle, wherever he is. Russell Hodges, a professor at the local college who, through his prominent position as head of the American Society for Psychical Research, had given a lecture at the bookstore some time ago and is attracted to her when again meeting and becoming aware of  her desire to contact the dead Kyle. Hodges is related vaguely to Dr. Clifford, the former owner of the destroyed hotel which also had been part of his clinical program. He arranges a séance with her, her grandfather and himself in attendance. The session is dominated by the harsh voice of the doctor as Kristina acts as the séance performer and Clifford is ranting that he wants Hanna back, and that he knows he has taken her. They are not aware that Jan has snuck in and is listening and he knows Clifford had taken the locket he, Jan, had given her and should remember destroying her body. It seems Jan had tried to convert her to eternal life as a vampire, but was too late as she was too far advanced with T.B.

      Kristina collapses into a coma-like condition that takes time to dissipate and scares her grandfather severely. She recovers soon, but still is insistent upon contacting her brother so Russell introduces her to Gwen Crowley, a well-known medium to help her. Meanwhile, Jan, posing as a writer interested in the burned out hotel/clinic offers to help her with another séance and the tale continues as Jan becomes increasingly attracted to Kristina who looks startlingly like Hanna, Russell similarly becomes enamored, Otakar and Magda are rediscovered as well as more about them unfolds, Darja becomes actively involved and Kristina’s grandfather plays a surprising role, all leading to an interestingly different climax.

Discussion: The author has provided an interesting plot that is much more involved than those previously read in this genre by this reviewer. My only, no doubt irrelevant aside, is that I do wish this author, as well as many others, would please become a little more knowledgeable about firearms when their characters are going to use them. Nonetheless, this is a vampire story that it would seem aficionados especially will thoroughly enjoy.

5* Interestingly ‘different’ vampire tale devotees should thoroughly enjoy.