PROVIDER PRIME, Alien Legacy, a sci-fi, alien, intergalactic novel copyright and written by John Vassar.

Thirty-seven seconds ago a mind-numbing fear entered the mind of DS. Agent David Telson. Being aware that psychological warfare could be expected he was concerned that nerve gas may have penetrated his cam-suit. However, he concentrated on keeping his thoughts on his job and Gem because he knew that he had the most advanced technology at FedStat’s disposal protecting him, that his Commanding Officer Harry Doyle ‘had his back’, and that extraction was on the way. As a long successful agent, he still was concerned because he sensed something was out there. His extraction unit arrived within minutes, he started sprinting towards it and suddenly was nothing but a puff of dust. Shortly thereafter the reader is introduced to Doyle having drinks with Lee Mitchell, an extremely intelligent former agent who he attempts to persuade to return on a special assignment at Delere Secos (DS). Even after long friendship Lee refuses, they have words and Lee leaves. A few days later he is contacted by Commander Nathaniel Devlin who informs him Doyle has vanished and he asks Lee to become an investigator for him into the disappearance with no real ties to the parent organization and provides him with information on what they seem to be facing. Lee accepts because of his long relationship with Doyle. Next, Cytec is introduced. It is a huge corporation that functions on the cutting edge of science and is responsible for a considerable amount of Earth’s usable technology. It is headed by exceedingly brilliant Roderick Deucalion Thorne, a man who has become a recluse in his huge laboratory that he has staffed with autons (human-like robots). Because all of the board of directors have become mega rich under his direction of the company no one wishes to challenge his eccentricities. Thorne’s huge main autom Sentinal he has programmed to think but with complete loyalty to him and also Cortx with no thoughts other than within parameters Thorne dictates. The Sentinal is his constant companion, As further pieces of information are released the reader discovers that Thorne actually is an intelligent alien named Ja’faal from the planet of Vis’hanni, many light years away in an entirely different solar system. Additionally, the level of scientific development of this planet is far advanced beyond that of Earth. Thus, the seemingly genius Thorne who has been able to devise and produce the many useful devices that have made Cytec such a leader that the company has disregarded his unusual behavior, is the intelligent Ja’faal from a far advanced culture who has been functioning at the advanced level that has allowed him his reclusive activities. Additionally however, his withdrawn position has allowed him to secretly devise deadly instruments such as the one that destroyed Telson and Doyle. And these were merely successful first steps to pursue his secretly held ruinous intentions for Earth. Meanwhile we learn that Lee has accepted the assignment and during his early deployment is approached by SenANN the now autonomous functioning advanced Artificial Intelligence System that serves the secret levels of FedState. They have approached him because they require a physical representative to gain entrance to save a ‘brother SenANN’ who they believe is threatened by Thorne. By insinuation of miniscule working elements into Lee’s brain his new circuitry becomes part of this ‘top secret’ functioning system. And now enough. Presentation of any further details of Lee’s subsequent interaction with SenANN, with his peers, his commanders, the aliens or any other facets of the entire thread of the complicated plot would be a distinct disservice to prospective readers.

Discussion: The author has set forth a remarkable alien/sci-fi story replete with action that generally moves the tale forward at a nice pace, provides relatively simple explanations for the technology employed that are vague but seemingly adequate to move the reader forward, and characters with whom the reader for the most part can equate. Lee’s love interest, as such, is difficult to swallow as to its depth, as is Reyna’s relationship with her sister who first had known Lee and whose ultimate situation after an apparent vague plea to him is never again mentioned. Similarly, the sequencing of important information often provided an annoying level of confusion with respect to the entire plot, at least for this reader.

Conclusion: An intriguing, nicely verbalized alien/sci-fi that most readers no doubt will enjoy.

4* Enjoyable alien/sci-fi for most, but disconcerting hiccups as described.

Cascading Petals

Cascading Petals ISBN: 9781775067627, Huntson Press, an e-book by Jane C. Brady.

Jewel Hart is an attractive student entering her senior year in high school. She has a 2-year older brother who is a tease but loves her and a sister she is responsible for collecting from her pre-school and taking care of until her mother returns from the office where she is officer manager for her husband’s very successful law firm. Her parents still a loving couple, also attempt to be good parents providing not only for the children’s desires but a healthy home life as well. Her brother, now in college, is pretty much a ‘loner’, never acquiring or needing friends. Contrarily, Jewel has a deep need for close friends and dreads this senior year because she has none. In spite of her seemingly ideal background, she has an extremely fragile ego that was first fractured thirteen years previously by acts of bullying classmates, people with whom she of necessity has associated for all of these years in this rather stable upper class neighborhood. The main bullying activity is rendered by Lexi and Amy, attractive girls with problems of their own that cause them and Lexi’s muscled boyfriend Chad to act as they do. Chad is totally spoiled and more or less out-of-control as the result of a father who provides him with everything but attention. He drinks heavily, drives recklessly, and delivers occasional drugs. Most fortunately however, Jewel meets Kaiden Carter, an extremely kind, seemingly self-assured young man in spite of secretly carried horrendous psychological baggage. He had just transferred to the area when he and his widowed mother moved in with his grandparents in this neighborhood. They become friends along with Finn Garcia, a pleasant, intelligent ‘nerd’ Mexican also transferred to the school and friendless. The plot evolves into following the interactivities of these individuals through the year with Kai and Jewel’s relationship developing into a budding love based on their common need. The devastating results arising from the actions of the disruptive characters along with the parental activity or lack thereof coupled with ineffective and/or lack of, proper action/reaction by teachers and other persons in authority also are set forth in some detail.

Discussion: The author has set her tale in Canada, but has described a situation of social injustice replete with abominable action, unacceptable neglect and ineffectual authoritative reaction that all-too-frequently is encountered in many countries leading most often to disastrous results. In general the message is clearly presented and described. The characters are obnoxious and/or suffering according to their position as attacker or attacked, the parents are credibly described in their rolls, the teachers both good and bad are as would be expected and the authoritative figures as ineffectual regrettably as commonly is the case. Thus in general, the author has provided a clear and compassionate message about the plight of bullied children and their bullies. Additionally, she has offered not only such causative factors as domestic abuse, but also some measure of description of effect of parental personal activity resultant from their own psychological baggage and its effect upon their children. However, the seemingly effective corrective course of action provided, regrettably at least for this reader, is a little too unrealistically ‘pie-in-the-sky’. Either Jewel’s family was not as lovingly appreciative of their daughter’s years-lasting problem as described, or they were completely incompetent in the practice of law, the latter seemingly strange since he was Senior Partner in a Law Firm doing sufficiently well to have their own prominent building and taking the entire family on exotic vacations. As an additional aside, the two women bullies seemingly were totally aware of the cause of their problems – a rather uncommon occurrence, and certainly not as completely understood as their actual verbalization of their problems would indicate.

Conclusion: An interesting and compassionate presentation of a universal problem with a disappointing supposedly effective corrective course of action.

3* 4* Compassionate presentation; 2* disappointing corrective activity.