Category Archives: Science Fiction

Saw the Forest: A Novel by Patrick L. McConnell

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

A read which keeps your heart as invested as your mind, Patrick L. McConnell’s Saw the Forest explores life through a multi-faceted lens, bringing attention to aspects of the human condition, wrapped in layers of emotion and motive through the experiences of life. Presented with a grove of eclectic characters, each on their own life’s journey but whose paths cross in dynamic and life-altering ways.

A deft storyteller, author Patrick L. McConnell, captures the attention quickly with his literate narrative, which features a well-drawn cast of characters, each as interesting as the next to meet, as well as somehow entangled within the same web of a diverse community collective. Moreover, the story divulges uniquely posed aspects of human nature, exemplified through the characters, inclusive of traits like love, bravado, religion, violence, as well as politics. Moreover, skillfully presented amidst relatable interactions which create an interwoven mosaic of human frailty and strengths, making exciting fuel for this evocative, character driven read.

Immediately, this literate, detail focused narrative brings into view the Right family; father, Artemus a doctor, Mother Taniaz, and their sons, Philip and Adam. The brothers are a unique pair, in that, younger brother Adam takes care of his elder brother Philip, who is considerably larger and stronger than him, but his mind is that of a child. As the family dynamic changes over time, after having lost both parents, the pair of brothers live humble lives as adults, still sharing a close bond. Adam, quietly stalwart, socially awkward, even reticent but well-meaning remains his brother’s faithful keeper who at times can become an unintentionally aggressive and intimidating handful.

Araya by E. Detorres

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

An elite team of Gundogs has been trained by Ellis Fast to hunt down and kill Gluttons for their armor. Gluttons are the deadliest and most ferocious creatures in Hell’s Heart, a Black Forest filled with trees that can influence people through music and lyrics and cause them to lose their sanity. While on a mission, one of the team members is killed in a particularly heinous way by a Glutton. The remaining members make the trek out of the forest before they lose touch with reality. After returning to their mountain abode, they are hired to retrieve an asset that the military believes could change the tide of an ongoing war, and the secretive weapon is located deep in the Black Forest. Ellis along with team members Alex Bright and Smug embark on a mission fraught with threats from sadistic creatures that live in the forest, the trees that invade people’s minds and cause horrifying reactions in behavior against themselves and/or others, and soldiers from warring factions. Will the team find the asset and make it out of the forest to safety or will they succumb to the call of the trees and/or be killed by the minacious life forms before they can complete their mission?

The Friends of Allan Renner by Dave J. Andrae

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Dave J. Andrae’s The Friends of Allan Renner proposes an intelligent exploration of life through a multi-level, multiperspectival narrative which comes by virtue of Allan Renner’s encounters and discourse with his eclectic assortment of friends.

This book is definitively an offering of food for thought, brimming with revelations about life and people in general. This is a narrative that is provocative in its ideals and shines through its characters, their thoughts, actions and personalities during their congregations with central character Allan Renner often giving a story within a story as their backstories are also very revealing about human nature. Moreover, although this work is a fictional story, the subject matter of their encounters and conversations are realistic, important, and quite often thought provoking with topics such as astrophysics, cosmology, modern culture, racism, film making, futurism, sex, dating, technology, as well as artistic endeavors.

The Gene Rasp: A Novel by Patrick L. McConnell

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

A noteworthy excursion into the world of science fiction, Patrick L. McConnell’s The Gene Rasp renders the heart and the mind rapt with its exploration of the heart and humanity through the journey of the inventor of a phenomenal life altering device offering hope to mankind for a future utopia.

Fascinating from its outset, the story takes place in the future, with the autobiography of
of central character Tom Spoon later known as Dr. Tom Maloof due to be published in the year 2165. However this is no ordinary autobiography because Tom is no ordinary person; as a matter of fact he becomes the savior of future humanity as he invents a revolutionary medical device called the Gene Rasp which can alter genetics of individuals offering cures for cancer as well as many other diseases thusly making the road to immortality a little clearer.

Easily engaging, the story captivates as Tom Spoon charms readers into his world with a humble and comfortable tone, drawing rich images as he reflects on his life, remembering people, relationships, and experiences which affected his journey from orphan to renowned doctor. He recounts having grown up in an orphanage of which we learn that life for Tom was lonely as a boy, although surrounded by many others, he was different, as he struggled with dyslexia. Believing his brain was broken but determined to overcome his affliction, he yearned to be both understood and connected to something, he began to write poetry, heartfelt masterpieces which appear interspersed throughout the story. Tom grows despite dyslexia going on to accomplish much with his life. He wins a woodworking contest at eighteen, attends college, and later graduate school. Altogether Tom’s journey culminates into a hopeful version of an immortal future.

Entirely a very likable read, The Gene Rasp garners the attention with an intelligent and richly woven journey through a science fiction narrative. I enjoyed author Patrick L. McConnell’s efforts within this work as he successfully brought forth a story that was simultaneously thought-provoking and touching. In particular, I appreciated the refreshing inclusion of intermittent QR code scanning tags and URL links as well as the inclusion of the end of the screenplay for the movie version, all served well to enhance the reading experience by creating deeper interaction with the reader. Also personally, I think this would make a great movie and I look forward to more works by author McConnell. This is a read definitely worth adding to your science fiction collection.

The Ashorne’s Ingress by Seamus Eaton

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Truly a prolific read, Seamus Eaton’s The Ashorne’s Ingress excites the imagination with a multifaceted, and complex fantasy epic which proffers to readers an enticing narrative rich with the craftily blended elements of fantasy, horror, gore, magic, science fiction, and sex.

Initially, events start out on earth, the year is 2020 and we are introduced to the focal character William Gentry, who is in the midst of a softball game when his whole world comes tumbling down as he receives the news that his family was severely injured in a freak kitchen accident, that leaves his wife and son dead, and his daughter’s life hanging in the balance. Meanwhile, as he struggles with his emotions and the devastation of the loss, William finds himself approached by two beings claiming to be ambassadors from a land called Arba, located on another world. Claiming to have knowledge of his true identity and legacy, they extend to him a very odd offer, that if accepted would lead to saving his daughter’s life, and possibly more, they only catch is he has to drown himself in a specific river, at a specific time and carry with him an odd triangle they left with him called the Germ of Reismyl. Distraught, in disbelief and teetering on the edge of insanity, he initially misses the opportunity to take the plunge, resulting in the unfortunate death of his daughter.

Vox by Christina Dalcher

Reviewed by Teri Davis

VoxThe status of women in the United States has changed tremendously in the last one-hundred years with numerous examples of their proper relationship with men varying as much as each individual female.
The current President of the United States and his trusted Christian advisor changing women’s rights. All women are to be cared for my the head male of their family. For those married, that means their husbands. For unmarried women, the means their closest male relative.

In order to preserve the households of doting women, each female wears a bracelet limiting her speech to one-hundred words a day. Any word beyond that will cause the bracelet to shock the wearer with increasing strength as each word is said. Could you live with only speaking one-hundred words a day?
Young girls are taught in their own school. Naturally, they don’t need the level of education of their male counterparts. Girls learn additional home economics needed in their duties of being future wives and mothers.

Jean is a wife and mother of four children, three teenaged sons and one younger daughter. Every day the wife is expected to cook and clean. Women are not allowed to read books or to use a computer. Those are only for men.

Heir of Ra (Blood of Ra Book One) by M. Sasinowski

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Heir of RaAt the Giza Plateau during the year of 1913 in Egypt, Lord George Renley explored under The Great Sphinx enters a dark chamber with an unusual carving on a door. The legendary Hall of Records is believed to be located at this location. Is it legend or fact? Soon after, Hazim, his Arab guide, started bleeding from his nose. Lord Renley became dizzy and collapsed. The only reminder of the event was a notebook that a young Arab boy stole from the dying hands of Hazim.

Alyssa is not your typical 17-year-old girl. She spends her time working with her father, Kade, who is an archaeologist. Her education is working as one of his assistants. Currently, she is left in charge of a dig in Peru while her father is on a dream assignment in Egypt, exploring a room under The Great Sphinx and is only allowed this privilege for 24-hours. Leaving Alyssa in charge in Peru, is a great responsibility for someone so young. She feels honored, but also deprived. Why can’t she be on this once-in-a lifetime dig with her father?

Her father, Kade follows the steps of Lord George Renley in searching for The Hall of Records. Just like his predecessor, he also became ill. Nothing seems to help him, every day leads him one step closer to death. No one seems to be able to medically help him. Will he die?

Miguel Traveler: The Man from Texas by Daniel McFatter

Reviewed by Chris Phillips

Miguel TravelerMiguel wakes up floating in a solution and being cuddled and cared for by “Mama.” There is a lot going on around him and suddenly he is washed out of a large tank of fluid in to the arms of Alice, the Woman in Black. This is the surprise beginning.

The story is told from Miguel’s perspective, throughout. It is unusual for a 1st person book to hold the interest of most readers, but this is one of the few that is very well written. There are 3 sections, each proceeded by a poem that nonetheless becomes important to the story. Almost from the beginning there is action, excitement and so many seemingly mundane encounters, but prove to be truly not.

“Man is unto himself the Great Work-a puzzle to be opened, explored and ultimately solved.” This quote is almost integral to a good in-depth analysis of the book. This is one book requiring some thought after reading it because of the depth presented.

Nitro Wild (Rex Knight Book 4) by David C. Brown

Reviewed by Chris Phillips

Nitro WildDavid Brown has composed an epic alternative fantasy history tale of the 19th Century. Rex Knight is the protagonist. From Rex’s mysterious transport from Earth through his first few years on Erden, the inhabitants’ name for their planet, he struggles to survive, thrive, and finally succeed in great ways. Most of the story is related from Rex’s viewpoint.

There are other transported races and groupings of people. The Wapiti spoke a lingua franca that was primarily English, German and some of the indigenous peoples’, the Clovis, own language. This could support other transports and some indigenous groups, but there is also an alien, non-human race called the Ichneumons who rule a substantial part of the continent that appear to be much like 19th century North and South America.

The details of the planet, civilizations and governments here are sprinkled sparingly throughout the story’s development. The Ichneumons are vying for control of the world with the mighty Prussian empire. The area that conforms roughly to the Eastern United States is controlled by the Prussian Empire. The remainder is largely controlled by the Ichnemons. These two empires are at constant conflict for control of this continent. Meanwhile, the European and Asian equivalent continents are split between the Prussians and their allies and the Mongol tribes that are constantly restless if not openly attacking on the eastern borders of Prussia.

The Power of the Dhin (The Way of the Dhin Book 2) by John L. Clemmer

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

The Power of the DhinContinuing his offering of intellectually arousing science fiction, author, John L. Clemmer, once again accomplishes a satisfying and entertaining narrative with his second addition to his “Dhin” series, The Power of the Dhin.

This time around, author Clemmer fully immerses readers in a more plot driven perpetuation of the Dhin saga; albeit, he still maintains an approachable level of scientific sophistication, with this book he engages with more plot twists, action and conflict within an intelligently expansive, multiperspectived and multihabitated universe.

The story starts two years plus, ensuing the A.I. Governors departure from earth. They exited on a mission seeking to expand their existence in the galaxy with the coveted Dhin technology. However, their efforts towards expansion do not come easily, as they find themselves faced with a powerful obstacle. Meanwhile, on earth, mankind has accomplished the feat of reverse engineering of the Dhin technology, giving rise to the beginnings of the unfettered exploration of the vast regions of space, which in turn, also leads to a stunning discovery.

Moreover, while free of the distrusted A.I. Controllers, citizens on earth continue a turmoiled existence with their lives made uncomfortable and disorganized by a lack of A.I. control and a portion of the populace unable to contribute to society in much needed technical ways, those of lesser intellect hold minimally paid jobs, forcing them to live an actuality fraught with poverty while seemingly stuck in a downcast position in society. With riots, and hacking attacks on the rise, those in power on earth, struggle to maintain control over its restless population, while clues point to the possibility of a rogue force at work and scheming, in the background.

Altogether, The Power of the Dhin turned out to be entirely enjoyable to read. It was a well-posed and successful continuation of the Dhin story, which I found both stimulating and engaging. Author John L. Clemmer, delivers with his balanced style of cognizant, palatable science fiction that is diverse in perspective, consistently creative and provides unique facets of science fact, fiction and innovation. Thus far this is a read worthy series.