The Origin of Dracula

The Origin of Dracula ISBN: 9780984026579, Laurel Canyon Press, an e-book written and copyright by Irving Belateche.

The tale is about John Gaines who is challenged by a supernatural power calling himself Dantės to play an intellectual game of discovery with the life of his son as the prize. It is delivered in a note: “If you can find me, tell me my true identity, I will spare your son.” He is given until the child’s birthday, the following Sunday. He figures that the signature had been chosen knowing that Edmond Dantes was the main character in one of the most well-known tales of revenge, The Count of Monte Cristo. He assumes the challenge exists as a result of an incident in his childhood when he had convinced his parents to allow him to camp out overnight with two buddies at a local park. One of the boys seemingly was attacked by some strange individual and somehow was able to push him off a cliff, the body washing away in the river. John already had been traumatized at an early age by the early death of his loving father and this now was followed by the recent murder of his beloved wife. He is a librarian by vocation after having found solace in absorption in books, and with his extensive literary knowledge, decides that this person is the same as the missing person from the childhood encounter and further, that he may well be an immortal such as Dracula. Later developments provide substantiation to his assumption with similarities of names to those of the boys and other factors. Further complications arise when all of these features are interwoven with a long standing vendetta similar the infamous Hatfield’s and McCoy’s, Indian legends dating back to the arrival of the Pilgrims and the Jamestown Colony and activity by members of these colonies. Several additional interesting characters are introduced and play important parts in the rather involved proceedings.

The author appears quite knowledgeable of the ‘classic’ novels, has acquired fascinating details of old legends and has interwoven them rather well. His dissembling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which here incidentally does not include vampire activity, is particularly engaging. Additionally, this is perhaps one of the elements that knowingly or probably unknowingly offers an essential feature of interest by readers for the entire book. He points out that Dracula actually is based on the story of Vlad Tepes, the mid-15th century heir to House of Draculesti and Prince of Wallachia a region of Romania. He became a folk hero of the Romanians in their struggles against the encroaching Ottoman Empire and the story of Vlad the Impaler was of his extreme cruelty that similarly was legendary. The reason for my belief in its position of importance to readers of this work no doubt is unknown to many. A sizeable number of years back the explosion and easy availability of electronic games made their appearance. They were fun and with their gradual development, interest progressed and lasted well beyond a mere ‘fad’. Unfortunately, a simultaneous decline in reading, especially among children and young readers appeared and was so noticeable that educators became seriously worried. They actually initiated well-designed studies to determine ways in which the desire to read could be restored. Numerous leads were followed with some even at marginally disgusting levels. However, one of the most promising was stories following plots involving horror and activity such as indulged in by Vlad Tepes. In fact, the story of Vlad the Impaler was one of the most prominently believed to be most influential by the educators attempting to restore reading – long accepted as the font of all learning.

So to conclude: This novel is verbose, often repetitious and lacking in features appealing to some readers. As such, perhaps it may be of greater interest to younger readers but it also may intrigue many readers unaware of the influence hidden away in their psyche as a result of acquisition through strange channels.

3* But 4* for many because of strange reason described.

AFTERMATH

AFTERMATH Paperback ISBN: 9781681111124, Wasteland Press, A post-apocalyptic novel by Joe Reyes.

The plot follows the course taken by survivors of an unexpected bombing attack on the United States that has left the country in a chaotic state brutally fought over by warring ideological groups but ruled by none. The strong prey upon the weak who attempt to survive any way they can. Food is in short supply with starvation imminent. Towns are invaded, their inhabitants cannibalized, doctors embark regularly on ‘organ raids’ because their armies need organs to transplant and especially have a great need for blood to use for transfusions after each battle they engage in with an adversarial ‘army’. The plot is told from the standpoint of several individuals embracing various levels of good and evil and forced into relationships with individuals from the ‘other side’ of the conflict. Each individual protagonist pursues a particular path for self-gratification and one member on an understandable quest for revenge, can cause increased havoc for the entire situation. Each chapter is about the person for whom the chapter is captioned and repeated if again the subject of the chapter.

The author provides vivid descriptions of mayhem, deplorable acts, graphic blood and guts perpetrated by the types of individuals that would be encountered in a world without any legal or moral restraints. Also the activities resorted to by individuals with strong instincts for survival. In essence, it quite nicely portrays the type of material that increasing numbers of readers of the latest few generations enjoy. For the other readers not particularly enamored of such graphically portrayed activity this book is NOT for you. Similarly, those of a more pragmatic nature will shudder at the missing infrastructure even basically required to furnish the materials constantly employed by the characters.

Conclusion: Graphically depicted post-apocalyptic world, not for everyone.

3* 4* Post-apocalyptic story for newer generations; 2* for others described.

The Atmosphere of Angels

 

     The Atmosphere of Angels, Smashwords e-book Edition, written and copyright by H. C. Turk.

Parno Hadjara, along with Kathlynn Shumard, the desirable young woman next to him were admiring the scenery as the space boat was gradually approaching Kapnos 3, the new planet with whom purportedly their government was desirous of establishing a working relationship similar to others previously set up. Other members of the visiting party are Vera Pacetti (Chief Technician), Grazio (the pilot), Ward Hanshaw (The Project Director), and his wife Stacy (Financial Anthropologist). As the plot develops, it is discovered that the Kapnosans have no interest in anything the new arrivals have to offer. However, their planet is a tremendous source of ether ore which is scarce and is the basic element of the fuel required to drive their space boats. Thus, Parno, after only one previous deployment as a junior officer, now is the Stellar Service Off-World Emissary to attempt negotiations. Actually he was selected to keep Kathlynn occupied while the other members of the project mine and load surreptitiously the ore after which all will depart. Kathlynn must be ‘kept busy’ so as not to interfere. If discovered she, without hesitation, would terminate the project because as the Earth Nations United Designated Representative, this was exactly the type of activity the Earth Nations were attempting to eliminate. From this beginning, the story rolls following Parno and Kathlynn through numerous horrifying encounters as they attempt to make contact with the indigenous inhabitants until arriving at the somewhat unusual ending.

Describing this author’s book is somewhat of a daunting task. He exhibits a fine appreciation of Sci-Fi technology and verbalizes very well with often graphically detailed descriptions followed by specifically and accurately presented emotional reactions. Also, when a ‘different’ language is used, it is not awkwardly done as so often happens. However, character development of the two protagonists is a ‘mixed bag’. Basically it is adequate but their reactions frequently do not fit their character and/or activity. They just do not seem to ‘ring true’ to their purported professional level; e.g. many aspects of their sexual interest and expression thereof seem forced, uncharacteristic and even sophomoric for individuals purportedly of a degree of maturity to be assigned to posts of their level; similarly the occasional concurrent horror/humor sequences. Similarly again, the pace is ‘irregular’. In a general way it is maintained, but the endless sequences of attempting to escape the indigenous inhabitants’ structure would have benefited greatly by a little judicious editing and at least for this reader a little more about the other characters would have provided a more rounded story that would have greatly enhanced its enjoyment.

3*  4* Well-written horror (?) sci-fi; 3* regrettably for reasons presented.

Something

Something ISBN: 9780988131231, Special Revised Edition of Book One of the Wisteria Series. A “new adult: horror: dark fantasy: mystery in e-book by Shelby Lamb.

Plot: “Audrey draped her arms around a bloke’s shoulders, inhaling his cigarette stained breath. He had zits like hers, but the facial structure was good and she was hot. “She knew it was gross, but if she was going to stop thinking about Nathan for one second, she’d have to take extreme measures.” Neither had a condom but they were at it with full enthusiasm until they heard steps approaching. He zipped up just in time and “Yanking her dress down, Audrey ran, forgetting her panties tossed aside on the ground.” She returned to the more than century-old three story building that had seen far better days to go “shuffling past the lounge where some brain-dead catatonics sat, gazing at the television. Some were drooling all over the couch again. “Ms. Harris will be upset!” yelled a Down syndrome girl before clapping her hands over her mouth to giggle. Aubrey yawned, marching up the staircase that led to the second floor.” Here she transferred some clothes to the dryer, and her work finished, slipped into her bedroom where she had stashed her jar of stolen pills. Not enough yet and how was she going to go on? Where were her best friend Adelaide Pierri of even Billi Porter? She desperately missed Nathan Silva. She then began to read the unusual book she had discovered in a used book store. Sleepy after a while, she slept only to suffer a horrible, weird dream/awake experience. Next, the reader is introduced to Bella Broadhurst getting ready to party HARD for her birthday She has begun by starting to drink heavily and waltzing around completely nude with her friends. From this point on the story follows a convoluted path involving a group of students at the Pentecostal Boarding School, a private school and additional assorted other students and individuals of both sexes who are determined to ‘live life to its fullest’ with and by any means possible. Most are nihilists. All participate in drunken escapades, indiscriminate sexual activity and many indulge in self-mutilation. A reason is provided for Aubrey’s activity in that she came from a home where mother and father constantly fought. Her very young mother constantly poked her sister with needles which she mentioned to a girlfriend. From there an abuse investigation deposited the parents in jail, her older sister in a home for troubled teenagers and 12-year-old Aubrey was taken in by a “sweet old lady”, Ms. Harris, the owner/manager of the above described ‘home’. Here the child was put to work helping her when she was not required to be at the local school. From here the story continues its meandering pathway seemingly involving in a deadly manner anyone in anyway associated with the book that caused Aubrey’s horrid dream/awake episode, although some of the disastrous occurrences simply could result from the individuals’ manner of existence. Eventually and ultimately the story arrives at the beginning of the next volume in the series.

Discussion: The author states at the very beginning of the book: “Aubrey finds a book that propels her and her peers into horror and madness. Nihilism, self-harm, explicit scenes. You now enter at your own discretion.” Apropos this statement, the book does provide an abundant description of activity on the ‘seamier’ side of life, which does seem to exist in even more abundance among the youth of today for whatever reason one wishes to accept. Thus, in truth, there is little this reviewer can offer. If the reader’s inclination is to enjoy or be attracted to this activity in this environment this book definitely is for you. If one enjoys stories further removed from these somewhat decadent activities often performed in less than pleasant, even ultra-dark settings, they must be searched for elsewhere.

Conclusion: A dark tale of horror/fantasy with nihilistic self-indulgent behavior often performed in repugnant settings

3* Dichotomous; 4* for certain, perhaps unusual mind-set; 2* or less for others.