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.