Don’t Go, Ramanya,

Don’t Go, Ramanya, a novel set in Thailand/Myanmar in e-book form by Rush Leaming.

Plot: The book opens with most helpful notes by the author with respect to pronunciation, money and historical facts. The latter relevant to the fictional tale because of the occurrence of several actual pertinent events that occurred in the bordering two countries, including the Myanmar Embassy Hostage Crisis in Bangkok.

Characters/Plot: Ramanya had been known as the bomb-making Black Fox for rebels fighting the Myanmar despotic new rulers. His mother and young sister seemingly had been part of a retaliatory massacre resulting from one of his raids so, tired of killing, he had fled the country. He now is in his sixteenth month as a Buddhist Monk serving in Bangkok’s Wat Prok He is approached by a stranger who informs him that his mother and sister, instead had survived the massacre and wanted to see him. Father Bob Hanlan, a priest reinstated by Rome after having left as a result of a horrific ordeal, is attached to a group aiding the inhabitants in association with the temple. He is a good man helping everyone but also is inclined to side with various groups who are being mistreated by corrupt rulers. Unfortunately, his supportive activity leads to an unexpected result that once again places him under direct surveillance followed by a corrupt police captain blackmailing him with respect to a hitherto not publically known indiscretion during his time away from his priestly vows. The third ‘protagonist’ is Michael Shaw, an intelligent man in his thirties from South Carolina who teaches English to the Monks and assorted others during the day but fights his demons at night in constant drunken activity. The story unfolds as the three men are forced, each as directed by his own needs, into a journey together for the young man’s return.

Discussion: The author has developed an interesting story about the trials and pertinent activities of two unusual, intelligent but greatly psychologically disturbed individuals as they aid a person with perhaps somewhat similar, but ‘more understandable’ troubles. Some further editing would have increased the level of enjoyment for this reviewer. However, generally this is an enjoyable novel by an author seemingly knowledgeable of his environs.

4* Interestingly written story.


Nannion, a novel in e-book form, written and published with seemingly acknowledged help from Bewildering Stories, by Andreas Androutsellis-Theotokis.

Plot: An International team of Oceanographers proposed construction of a huge aquarium as a place to study sea creatures essentially in a free state where the scientists would have control of the ecology while conducting a wide range of experiments. The small virtually spheroid-shaped Greek island of Dioptra appeared to provide the perfect location. The island had been the site of a diamond mine, now extinct, that literally had reduced it to a large hole roughly the size required by the marine biologists, separated from the surrounding ocean. Construction was completed, amenities were provided for tourists to provide steady income and the scientists went to work. Eventually tourists found other sources of interest and other scientific projects finally caused cessation of the scientific activity and the work was abandoned. The reader then is introduced to a stray kitten who survives a few months in Athens when befriended by Claire, one of the original investigative team. She takes the kitten with her as she makes a solo nostalgic return to the island. The trip ends disastrously for her, but Nannion survives and gradually makes friends with an eel and a humanoid individual and all gradually become involved with a new composite group of scientists while attempting to liberate a pair of huge sharks from deadly organisms generated within the ‘aquarium’.

Discussion: The author has produced a relatively well-written tale; a skillful development of empathy for Nannion and her companions; science that ranges from unusual factual material (e.g., sea basins) to sci-fi/fantasy where discussion leans more heavily toward philosophy than science; and some matters of the young cat’s survival are a little difficult to accept. However, it is an interesting, albeit a somewhat strange read.

4* Interesting, albeit somewhat strange sci-fi/fantasy tale.