The Price of Safety

The Price of Safety ISBN: 9781950890811 World Castle Publishing copyright and written by Michael C. Bland.

The storyteller opens with his statement that “Igniting a miniature sun was the riskiest thing we’d ever attempted. Yet we were doing it in front of the entire planet” With 45 seconds left in countdown, he was mentally checking all aspects of the project while his onetime best friend and company co-founder CEO Nikolai, was in front of the 200 assembled CEOs bragging about the various accomplishments. The ignition is accomplished, in part, but must be terminated by a structural failure. From this introduction the tale continues as we follow the activity of Dray Quintero, a brilliant scientist who is the inventor of the extensive array of methods employed by the government supposedly to protect and provide a better life for the citizens. He discovers far too late that instead, these features are being employed to control them. Seemingly, the CEO has been able to provide the manner in which they are disseminated and has been completely tied to the government resulting in great wealth for himself, while Dray was involved in the brilliant investigative activity of providing the blueprints. The story is a matter of many twists and turns that involves his wife and three children. Death of the first one having a tremendous effect on him and his wife and directing their attention in an unhealthy manner toward attempts to protect the remaining offspring. But here, we discover that the older daughter has an agenda of her own. There are a large number of twists and turns in the plot with abundant distrust, deception, betrayal and treachery discovered to have been extant for some time and even within his own family.

Discussion: The author has provided a tale that reflects much of the thought and attitudes of much of today’s population set in a sci-fi of a number of years in the future. There is much repetition and some inexplicable thoughtless activity. However, this is a book for individuals who are devotees of sci-fi non-stop action thrillers. Regrettably from this reviewer’s perspective, it may be a little ‘over-the-top’ for even the reader who enjoys sci-fi/thrillers but is a tad more pragmatic.

3* 5* great read for die-hard readers of action-packed sci-fi/thrillers; -2* as explained.

The DAR LUMBRE Chronicles

The Dar Lumbre Chronicles ISBN: 9780692086162 assumed published, copyright and written by Don Johnson.

The author has devised an interesting plot where a highly intelligent geneticist, Dar Lumbre, was about to be arrested by the government for his continued work in the field. Although he had engineered the only viable heart replacement available, one evolving from actual heart tissue. They were concerned about other of his experiments and decided he must be apprehended and kept from continuing. The heavily controlling government was unable to find him in spite of all their efforts. The book opens a hundred years later, where the government has evolved into an all-encompassing power where there were only two political parties that alternated years of control, but regardless, all housing, food allotment and distribution of other necessities were administered by the ruling body. There was a requirement for citizen enrollment in one or the other party with non-registrants considered ‘Outsiders” who were forced to survive the best they could. Trouble begins with the DL-666 heart tissue losing ability to function properly and two extremely intelligent geneticists Craig Hopkins and Annie Lee working for the owner, Cal Tech, are assigned to discover why it is failing. The new laboratory director who was hired to ‘turn the company around’ because it was losing revenue, ultimately dismisses Craig. Because the wife of the government’s President suddenly requires a heart transplant, Craig is rehired and he and Annie continue to make advances in repairing the damage. Numerous other complications arise with a long-existent, but secret, Dar Lumbre Society surfacing and registering the ‘Outcasts’, an overwhelming majority of whom believe that eventually  the missing Dar Lumbar wil reappear  a hundred years after he disappeared while in his late fifties or sixties. Numerous supportive characters add levels of suspense to the tale as it evolves and any further details would be a complete disservice to the prospective reader.

Discussion: a well written, spaced and paced, sci-fi, mystery, thriller with extensive details on genetics presented in a readable fashion.

5* Pleasant, easy to read sci-fi/mystery/thriller involving genetics.

After Olympus

AFTER OLYMPUS ISBN: 9781733801713 Lone Think Press copyright by Desmond Mascarenhas written by Santiago Xaman.

Description/Discussion: Pragmatically, and referred to by the author as “pseudo-fiction”, this most unusual book follows a rambling plot following the lives of three men besides the story teller and their wives or significant others as their lives play out after discovery of a hitherto unknown/unreported Russian Space craft of unusual components and containment. The tale is a tumultuous mixture of mystery and mythology with overtones of mysticism (?), occult (?), history spread over a wide section of the world ranging from Guatemala to Russia, the Serengeti and other parts of Africa, India, throughout much of the U. S. and Europe. The four protagonists all are exceedingly well educated and from backgrounds (families/cultures/traumatic occurrences) that make them prone to a somewhat different manner of living, employment and in their reactions to these matters. The pages are replete with thought provoking messages on such matters as the fact that every subject deserves empirical, intuitive and pragmatic contemplation; everything good grows from the bottom up (plants, trees, cultures?); everything projected from the top down is bad – organized religions, governments et al. – these latter often ‘dodge’ by forming protocols that ‘adapt’. Good comes from people thinking alone; e.g. Plato, Einstein; bad from organizational groups at the top claiming from their collective decision that they are right and everybody else wrong. And unfortunately, even authenticity is vulnerable if railed against at a high level maintained for a sufficiently long time. The author seems most interesting, but who is the author? The book includes a previously published “Opinion Piece” of interest in itself, as is another “Rebuilding the House” that discusses replacing organized religions, governments, corporations “with better versions of themselves”. Also some notes About the Author are quite fascinating when contemplating the entire book and the thoughts that arise from the ‘experience’ of reading this book.

5* Unusual, divertingly intriguing experience for certain readers.

The Unconquered

The Unconquered, “Originally published 2018 as Heart of the Dragon – The Oracle Current version is Edition 2 Printed by Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing.” Copyright and written by Peter Man.

This book is unusual from several different aspects, thus actually requiring a somewhat different (and lengthy) review format. It is sub-titled Children of the Divine Fire, Romance of the Flower Kingdom, Book One and is a novel but also described as “An Epic Drama across the Galactic Stage Spanning the History of Human Civilization including that of mysterious CHINA.” It also is assumed that Jim Brown who participates actively in a China-themed “writers group,” participated in some manner in that he “came to notice and appreciate the mind and work of Peter Man, who has now graciously accepted our invitation to join TGP’s stable of affiliated writers.” Several glowing reviews describing the book’s imagery – art history, world geography, mythology, literature, sci-fi, action, militarism, mystery, thriller follow; then a preface; Table of Contents containing an Author’s Note; 52 chapters; “Why you should write reviews”, “Image Licenses” and “Acknowledgements.” A dedication follows “to Charlie Man Dunn because he may one day want to learn the meaning of being Chinese” while the numerous ‘Acknowledgements’ are issued with respect to individuals who in one way or another affected the author sufficiently to evoke an intense interest in China and its world relationships or would be so affected; then follow “Examples of approximate Putonghua (Mandarin) pronunciation using English spelling”; and ultimately, arriving at Chapter 1 which has the interesting title “Everything is a Lie” which informs the reader that he/she is about to be introduced “directly into the crux and climax of the unlikely, unfortunate, and unfathomable events that befell upon one ordinary and unexceptional girl by the name of Victoria Solana.” The story begins to unfold when Victoria as a small child had been given to Michael and Angela, a couple who had moved to Canada because of trouble in their own country, by David (Chinese who didn’t look Chinese) for her protection. Here she develops into a pleasant young girl with magnificent intellect seemingly as a result of exceedingly good training. Suddenly, her parents are killed in an orchestrated attack by a huge truck while she survives and again is rescued by David. He informs her that the two of them now “were facing a very powerful enemy that’ll use every evil tool at their disposal, including lies and illusions. In real life, fraud, deceit, and malice are usually mingled with truth and sincerity.” He then explains that he is using a “VR Gamebox” that “will help convince you that there is another reality….basically a lying device to teach you about the truth. It’s a Paradox and an oxymoron. But you’ll decide what is real. Think of me as your guide and mentor.” “We enjoy unfettered freedom of expression which includes the freedom to lie, the freedom to slur, the freedom to insult, and the freedom to use the basest profanities in the Holy of Holies. Lies pervade the air we breathe …”  “This is the brave new world we live in – the Land of Lies.” “I’m training you to fight the final battle. We need you to win” From here the story follows Veronica as she learns of her strange heritage that reaches back through centuries in China and why it is so important for her to survive.

Discussion: The author here has exhibited the mental abilities and extensive knowledge that have called forth the lavish praise mentioned above. He is eclectic as well as appearing to provide, almost to a lexicon degree, a history of China. The quantity of material alone regarding China’s centuries-long history is enthralling in its range from the similarity of the causes of the trek begun by 86,000 peasants that ended with 8100 to that of the American Indians’ Trail of Tears, to presenting further material with respect to the duplistic part played by Chiang Kai-shek. Additionally, the basic plot is intriguing and the multi-genre approach excellent. Thus, as stated, as a historical treatise, this book is most illuminating and the fictional plot is unique enough to provide great interest. It is only in the presentation of this latter, that this reviewer encounters disappointment. It gradually assumes a level more appropriate for young adults but again only partially. It is granted that we are reading a story, one of whose genres is fantasy. However, the credibly acceptable characters first presented gradually move further into fantasy until eventually being ‘swallowed-up’ within this fairyland and fading away to a point where we are informed that any questions raised “my friend, is another story.” Granted, this analysis obviously depends upon highly individualistic evaluation and may be that of this reader alone. If totally a personal conclusion, this reviewer offers most regrettable and sincere apologies, and suggests that each reader may need to make his/her own personal evaluation.

3* 5* eclectic with fascinating Chinese history; -2 Most difficult to review/interpret.

Trinity’s Fall

Trinity’s Fall assumed published, copyright and written by P. A. Vasey.

A prologue describes a man awakening in unusual surroundings somewhat similar to those of a hospital room with various leads retracting into the wall. Finally recognizing himself but strangely not functioning under his own thoughts, when a young woman enters he attempts to kill her. But again suddenly, he crashes emotionally, recovers and finds the woman gone. The first chapter then opens with a woman in Detroit answering her cell phone when a man asks “Is that you Kate?” She answers that she is Dr. Sara Clarke and whether she can help him? His answer “I don’t want to freak you out” She asks why should she? And she is told he is directly across the street and waves. He is a man she does not remember, but he tells her his name is Pete Navarro and that she actually knows him very well. He wants to know from whom she is hiding because of the name Sara Clarke. Eventually they connect and she discovers that she had been Sara functioning as an ER physician in rural Indian Springs when a man was brought in after being struck solidly by a large truck travelling down I-95 while walking down the highway at night. She had called Navarro, another physician, in for consultation because upon examination the patient’s tests had showed weird components rather than those normally found in the human body but that he seemed ‘to be alive although comatose’. She has no memory whatsoever of Indian Springs, the man brought in to the ER, nor of the man with whom she was speaking, although he had been her co-worker. From this unusual introduction the reader begins to follow a complex plot involving the attempted take-over and eventual destruction of the human race by the alien Vu-Hak who first entered earth through a wormhole that served as an intergalactic portal that had evolved from the crater created at the atomic bomb testing site.

Discussion: further details certainly would be a disservice to the prospective reader. There is a sizable number of characters who are not particularly ‘well fleshed-out”, but sufficiently to elicit at least varying amounts of empathy. The aliens, and humans converted to alien-like components to a degree, can read minds, manipulate electrical fields, gravitational fields and more and can exhibit bursts of special activity, mental as well as physical when required, and are almost indestructible. The plot is of a complexity that makes for somewhat lesser enjoyment for this particular reader, but no doubt will appeal to most devotes of this genre. (An admittedly most irrelevant aside – Navarro likes Suntory scotch liquor. I’ve never had it outside of Japan where we had it occasionally if it was the only scotch available.)

4* 5* probably for alien genre devotees.

Tap Sapiens

Tap Sapiens (Reign of Sapiens’ Evil [R.O.S.E.] Book 1) published, copyright and written by Robin T. T. Poon.

This post-apocalyptic, Sci-Fi opens with young Brandi Perry travelling on a bus through sections of the countryside varying from complete destruction and ruin, small towns with inhabitants living on a barely above starvation level, areas of obvious wealth and plenty, and finally arriving at the army’s station where she is to be inducted into the armed services. After the usual examinations, issue of clothing, etc. she is assigned to a barracks with other new inductees. After ‘lights out’ she finds herself to be overcome with restlessness and quietly moves to the door, exits and wanders throughout much of the area including the officer’s building. Here she has an almost disastrous encounter with two officers, one of which is the commanding general. She returns to her own building where she is greeted by her immediate bunk mate. Gradually, the reader discovers that Brandi’s reason for joining the army is to somehow destroy the stranglehold it has upon the populace through the inequality dictated by the Supremo and enforced by his army. Death and destruction not only are continuing but actually increasing quite rapidly. She discovers that her bunk mate has suffered greatly, as have others whom she gradually begins gathering to her in a small group. After boot training, assignments are made and she finds that she has been promoted to 2nd Lieutenant and moved to another building where she now has only one other roommate. This person, also having been poorly treated by the army, but continuing because of the needs of her family, becomes convinced of Brandi’s sincerity, and joins her group. From this point, the activity escalates as more about Sapiens becomes apparent and with Brandi developing a problem because of a growing attachment to the equally affected general who allowed her to retreat to her own barracks that first night when she wandered into the officers’ quarters.

Discussion; the author has set forth a complicated tale of revolt against tyranny complicated by introduction of romance. It moves along relatively well, is peopled with interesting characters and generally should appeal to those who like dystrophic tales with an emotional component. A number of characters are unaccounted for, bits of early history are injected in a somewhat ‘startling’ manner and other minor features no doubt will disappear as the author continues to mature.

4* dystrophic tale; surprising developments and a bit of romance.