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Metrofloat New York

Metrofloat New York by [Belle, William Quincy]

A rampant epidemic wipes out a large chunk of the world’s population, leaving behind a meager percentage to fend for itself and save humanity from extinction. With the use of highly sophisticated scientific and technological methods, man attempts to increase his chances of survival by creating floating cities and Metrofloat New York finds itself among them. The levitating city is run by five powerful members of the OligCouncil and everything seems peachy untill tragedy strikes. Someone begins to murder the ruling members. Detective Heart and Sergeant Stanton are called upon to find this harbinger of death before the equilibrium of the city’s government is disrupted and chaos rises. But they soon discover that sometimes, things aren’t as they seem.

William Quincy Belle’s Metrofloat New York is a gripping science fiction thriller set in post-apocalyptic times. Marked by tremendous advancement in science and technology and its adaptation to man’s peculiar circumstances. The author paints a vivid picture of the changes the world has gone through by introducing several elements like flying vehicles, brain siphoning weapons, ingrained ID chips, mutated bacteria and surprisingly, new meals devoid of any form of meat but dominated by insects and worms.

Although SciFi novels describe new realities, the best of them involving humans reveal that though times may change, our fundamental values, prejudices and quirks will not. Metrofloat New York does this with its resonating themes. For example, the writer shows that although tools of social stratification may become incredibly limited in the future, man will still get creative. In the book, we discover that the very human frailty which we are currently trying to subvert can be turned into a marker of status when it becomes a rarity. Also, we see that man’s present shallowness and pettiness will not be suddenly altered by the alienation of over half of humanity. He will still struggle with common defects like greed and the belittlement of others who seem slightly different. But thankfully, we won’t get to retain only our cynical traits, the qualities of compassion, love and solidarity will also remain with us. The writer also emphasizes the complexity of the core of humans: our thought process. Our consciousness is so intricate that it might prove impossible to recreate.

One thing I like about the book is what William does with the characters. He makes them real by progressively unraveling their traits, thereby reiterating the fact that people aren’t always what they seem. Based on first impressions alone, one may consider one of the key characters; Detective Heart, a frivolous and shallow-minded bum, but upon subsequent encounters, one soon discovers that he is far from that.

If you are one who fancies a SciFi novel whose plot rolls along quickly but still provides sufficient thrills and is greatly imaginative, then this book has your name on it.

Pages: 216 | ASIN: B07K631LDS

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Planet of Gods

Planet of Gods (Enigma Book 1) by [Crane, David]

Planet of Gods by David Crane is an exhilarating and intelligent sci-fi adventure set in the depths of space. The protagonist is a man called Peter Blackwood who is on the verge of retirement in the year 3500 AD. He’s looking forward to a relaxing and joyful life away from the stress that marked his earlier years. But those hopes are dashed when he’s suddenly captured and sent to an alien planet via a hyperspace tunnel. The new planet has a social divide and is filled with unrest. Through strange circumstances, Peter finds himself in the middle of all this turmoil. Using his military skills and expertise along with a diverse range of supporting characters, Peter navigates and revolutionizes this strange new world.

What impressed me the most about Planet of Gods is the unique and realistic touch to all of Peter Blackwood’s experiences. Although the novel takes place in a world that is vastly different from our own, the reactions and thoughts of the protagonist are perfectly captured to convey a sense that this character is real. I could picture myself thinking and doing the same things as Peter Blackwood, and that’s a pretty refreshing aspect to find in a book.

Although this is can be considered a dystopian novel, I didn’t find it unnecessarily dark or moody. The story is punctuated by a diverse assortment of exciting missions and varied characters that are constantly cropping up. The author manages to create a hard-boiled science fiction story with a thrilling plot. I enjoyed the rich history of the planet, making it an intriguing character on it’s own rather than just a backdrop.

Peter Blackwood as a character gave me strong Jack Reacher vibes. Both are middle-aged, ex-military men always finding themselves the unlikely heroes of their situation. Although I enjoyed the humanity in Peter’s character, he could be cold and calculating but also empathetic and sensitive. Although I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ending, I am eagerly looking forward to the next installment in the series. This is an exceptional read that will be enjoyed by any fan of science fiction adventure stories.

Pages: 231 | ASIN: B007FL0KO8

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Transference

Transference by [Keaton, B.T.]

In B. T. Keaton’s Transference, sci-fi and technology take center stage as the reader is led through a thrilling story with incredible characters. The reader is introduced to Barrabas, whose words and actions confirm that he is among the most impressive character to follow. Barrabas is confident. He introduces himself with contentment and boasts of his actions. I like how the author created this particular character as it was difficult to predict what his next step would be. He takes pride in being the most infamous thief to grace the earth since Jesse James, compares himself to Robin of Locksley and talks about his prowess. It is comical that even though Barrabas appears a braggart that’s full of himself, I still found him exciting. He is one of those characters I’m glad the author created.

I like the time travel concept in the book. The author takes us to the year 2102. The people living in that era are lucky, as man has come up with a way that makes them live forever. ‘Transference’ is the process through which one can experience eternal life. Thanks to technology, this method involves moving a soul from one person to another. I enjoyed reading about the transference process and the author’s creativity really shines in these moments.

One reason I liked Barrabas was his tenacity. His character was solid and aggressive when necessary, but also cunning and knew when to trick people to his advantage. Reminding me of Malcolm Reynolds in the show Firefly.  Barrabas was no stranger to controversy, he rubbed people the wrong way and was unfortunately exiled to a mining colony far away from home. Even while in deportation, Barrabas never ceased to amaze me. Jovian was another fantastic character that I liked. The man commanded the masses through his dominion and controlled every part of the colony. His relationship with Barrabas made them a great pair in the story.

The suspense in this novel is something that is constantly building due to the mix of mystery and ever present anticipation of danger. Transference seamlessly incorporates action and drama with satire and excellent narration to make a story that is persistently compelling. Transference is an electrifying sci-fi thriller that uses interesting characters to drive a story that is ultimately, I think, about  the purpose of life. We see the extent people go to avoid suffering and how humans innovate for survival. This is an exceptional story that I would recommended to readers who enjoy gritty dystopian fiction.

Pages: 404 | ASIN: B082WPHTHH

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A Single Light

A Single Light: A Thriller (The Line Between Book 2) by [Lee, Tosca]

It was early on a Monday morning at 4 am that I had gone through over one third of the book in one night. This book quickly became one of the best reads I have gone through in the past 3 months.

A Single Light begins with around 60 odd people forced to take shelter in a time vault due to the outbreak of a virulent epidemic. A runaway named Wynter and a former soldier turned bounty hunter, Chase are at the heart of the story. Both appear to be an unmatched pair as they have their own motivations and secrets. For the people in the vault, the only source of comfort and connection with the outside is periodic transmissions from Noah, the person who brings hope to the individuals. But all of a sudden, the link goes dark, causing to lose their composure. And when the time vault door opens all of a sudden, it begins a whole new set of unknown dangers to the group, stressed for many months. Infected animals, ghostly town, and people driven to the brink of anarchy. The support systems have failed, all semblance of order and law lying bare. What do you do? That’s where we find the characters in the story.

The story is intense and riveting as is the description of the dynamics at play between the different characters in a confined space. The notes that the story touches are really fundamental, fear, loss, joy but the presentation is remarkably somber and in line as to the way the plot is weaved. I really liked the way the author describes the gritty and raw emotions at play which I have seen only in a very few authors.

The best thing is that the author does not try to bend the story in a way that seems disjointed. It is a skill that is honed by working at the craft for many sleepless nights and long hours.

Though the story may not have political beliefs one may have, I wholeheartedly agree with what the author has penned about the need to break down the walls and be more exclusive. Normally a stickler for neat wrapped endings, I love the way the story concluded. I can’t wait for the next book.

Pages: 384 | ASIN: B07P5JKYT8

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Sleep State Interrupt

Sleep State Interrupt by [Weber, T.C.]

If most contemporary sci-fi is headed in the direction that Sleep State Interrupt is taking, I will be more than pleased. And a lot more concerned for humanity. Sleep State Interrupt tells the tale of protagonist Waylee who wrestles Big Media’s omnipresent influence. In this dystopian world, the government and people are heavily influenced and practically controlled by the media that surrounds them. Waylee and a couple of her technologically proficient friends plan a simple but brilliant plan to end this problem. They decide to capture and bring to light some incriminating dialogue that will shed light on how truly awful the situation has turned. However, she faces hefty roadblocks along the way, that occupy both her inner and outer world.

The premise of this story is like Mission Impossible meets the Avengers, but smarter in its portrayal of a dystopian world. There’s no question about the role media plays these days. Targeted advertising, subliminal influencing, endless privacy violations- all this is already unsettling. Weber takes this concept and pushes it to a terrifyingly believable level. The story is heavy on politics without naming names, I feel like I could probably point out some similarities in their evil politicians and our own.

One of the more interesting aspects of the book was that it forced me to take a stance on some issues that I would generally avoid thinking about it. There are a lot of moral and philosophical questions that are subtly posed throughout- and it’s a refreshing take for a cyber sci-fi novel.

Weber has clearly put in a lot of effort to nonchalantly feature a diverse set of characters. While all of them were interesting and unique, sometimes the characteristics felt a bit forced. Waylee’s character on the other hand was a masterpiece. From the realistic perspective offered on her disease to her upbringing and environment, her protagonism was undeniable. I could tell where all her actions and motivations were coming from.

I have always enjoyed politically-charged thrillers because it brings to light the fact that humanity is capable of creating its own nightmarish vision. Sleep State Interrupt portrays this with clarity and believability, without compromising all the fun that a government takedown story offers.

Pages: 331 | ASIN: B01KKMA1D8

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Makers of Destiny

Makers of Destiny - Sequel to Die to Live Again by [Crane, David]

Makers of a Destiny by David Crane is an enthralling mash-up of dystopian fantasy and a pulse pounding thriller.

The book is set in a post-apocalyptic New America, where Tanya Grey is one of the Panthers. The Panthers are a superior race, with a host of special forces that they intend to use for the growth and development of the other races in New America. However, a national emergency leaves Tanya Grey in the wake of a situation that requires all of her skills and power to fight the antagonists. They are the Neo Spartans, equipped with technological prowess and ruthlessness, they will stop at nothing to take down New America. Apart from this, an increasingly unstable political situation threatens the nation and Tanya Grey’s personal life.

Although this is a sequel to the novel Die to Live Again, reading that book is not required to read and enjoy this book. There are plenty of detailed explanations for all the characters, elements, and creatures. The descriptions of the Panthers’ lives and motivations were particularly fascinating. I wouldn’t be surprised if in our own post-nuclear holocaust (I don’t suppose it’s too far) we find ourselves in the company of these creatures. Apart from the Panthers, there were elaborate depictions of new species and animals, like the Hunter leeches. Although these were equally fascinating, I felt that they were a bit lengthy and did not contribute much to the plot.

Apart from these elements, equal amount of focus was devoted to Tanya’s personal lives and the characters that surround her. Her attachments and vulnerabilities made me especially empathetic to her decisions.

While reading, I was struck by the number of antagonistic elements in the book that were comparable to the realities of today. From racism to an endless lust for power that threatens the foundation of humanity, it was not a far stretch for my imagination to conjure up this world. The possibility of technology being used for evil, suppression of minorities, colonialism, and other parallels can easily be drawn between our world and this one. History always repeats itself and it is quite likely that we will find ourselves in a future which echoes our past. This novel provides a perfect and terrifying depiction of such a world.

Pages:  342 | ASIN: B074YH9GJD

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Dark Roots of American Politics

Michael McCord Author Interview

Michael McCord Author Interview

“End Times” is satirical look at a dystopian America that is eerily reminiscent of real life. What was the inspiration behind this thought-provoking novel?

I combined my own experiences as a journalist covering this political devolution in style and content to use satire to explain the collapsing political climate and set the stage for a Real America.

I’ve been asked numerous times in interviews and in speaking to groups how the Real America of my fevered imagination came about. I have said repeatedly anyone paying close attention to the dark roots of American politics since say 1980, or at least since 1994, would see something seriously amiss. In particular, in case you haven’t noticed, the Republican Party has gradually abandoned the idea of governing and embraced wholesale nihilism. They replaced it with a maniacal dedication to the snake oil of cutting taxes for the already filthy rich, filling the federal judiciary with as many unqualified and ideologically stupid judges imaginable, driving up federal deficits to science fiction levels, and generally mucking up the fragile nuts and bolts of democracy on a daily basis.

I chose a satirical fiction avenue because I wasn’t interested in writing a more conventional non-fiction book about what was happening.

Lawrence Bowie is an exceptionally developed character that I loved to hate. What were some themes you felt were important to capture in his character?

Good point: Bowie is either loved or hated with no middle ground. He was an amalgamation of five to six (real) Republican politicians known for their profound ignorance, incoherence and ability to lie without hesitation. In the first book (“The Execution Channel: A Political Fable”), one of the original concepts was the existence of a Congressional “Imbecile Caucus” and then I needed an incoherent and ignorant savant to lead them. This led to Congressman Lawrence C. “Demon Seed” Bowie of Texas who would go on to become the governor of the Real America Republic of Texas.

The totally immoral Bowie arrived to take advantage of a cynical climate ripe for a rabid minority to worship a truly corrupt leader. This pied piper would mock and degrade his followers while demanding their total loyalty and calling it love. He promised the best traits of a national crime syndicate and a death cult. He would keep them entertained with blatant racism, lies, fear mongering, conspiracy theories, and embracing ignorance. Bowie, a true pathological narcissist, would be the first to tell you, he made his mark before Trump in part because there was no shortage of marks in Real America for his political con. Bowie’s career path would eventually lead to a Real America secession and glory as Emperor Supreme for Life of Real America. Bowie keeps the public stupefied with cruel spectacle and the excitement of secession and a 21st Century Civil War.

Your book delivers a stark view of America’s political future. What things do you see in your book as only fiction and what things do you see as possible?

“End Times” is meant to entertain and enlighten with equal amounts of satirical humor, zaniness, and shock. The book is not for the political faint of heart or for those who believe America is on the right path. In a sense it’s not unlike the ghost of Christmas future in “The Christmas Carol”. I’m not saying this or that will happen. I am saying this alternative universe of Real America has the same seeds of decay and fraying of the chords of civility and decency that we see happening each and every day now. Though some may disagree, our American democracy is fragile and ripe for further destruction. Real America is one many dark versions that could replace our current political system – if the slippery slope of more economic and social chaos, less accountability, crueler and blatantly racist policies, and destruction of democratic norms continues.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Penelope will the third and final book in the Real America saga. Hopefully, by 2021-2022 readers will experience the final showdown between Penelope the Psychic and Emperor Supreme for Life Bowie.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

End Times: More Great Adventures in Real America by [McCord, Michael]

Michael McCord’s provocative 2013 political satire The Execution Channel: A Political Fable was the first act of the Real America saga.

The saga continues with the fantastical and farcical End Times: More Great Adventures in Real America. Set in an alternative (yet eerily familiar) political universe, this tale of American dystopia answers the question: What happens when America goes politically bonkers?

The colorful cast is topped by the righteously amoral and thoroughly corrupt Lawrence C. ‘Demon Seed’ Bowie. After surviving an attempted coup in 2018, he has rebounded with his customary good karma. Bowie is Chairman, CEO, President, and toga-wearing Emperor Supreme for Life of Real America, Inc., the Confederate-admiring, whites-preferred, and corporate-run nation that seceded from Old USA in 2020.

As he nurtures a new country combining the best aspects of a national crime syndicate and a death cult, Bowie prepares for a 2021 Coronation Night extravaganza to celebrate his magnificence and dazzle the world. Though his apocalyptic destiny seems assured, a rising resistance and many foes conspire against him and threaten the Real American dream.

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Experiment X: Exposed

Experiment X: Exposed by [Haase, Nikki]

Experiment X: Exposed is the second installment of the Experiment X Trilogy. Exposed jumps right back into the lives of Karen and her commands a year after their escape from Dr. Thaddeus’s lab. Those freed from the horrors of their capture spend their days slowly recovering and training their elemental powers. It isn’t long until Dr. Thaddeus makes a grand appearance on national television to unveil his new plan to create an army of superhumans; Experiment R. The unsuspecting population rejoice. Soon droves of volunteers sign up to take part with the promises of wealth and prestige. At the same time, Karen receives a coded message from her former captain embarking her on a journey that once again puts Hher physical and mental capabilities to their limits.

For those who enjoyed the first book, I highly recommend the second. If Sacrifice was about Karen discovering her powers, Exposed is about mastering them. Needless to say, Karen is back at it, supercharged, and ready to go.

Despite the obvious difference in power, Karen is a relatable character. Her anger, pride, and raw emotions are illustrated with such care from a first-person perspective. As the main character, Karen is portrayed with enough detail to make her believable and yet still given room to grow. She is a strong girl with a strong personality. Such perfection with one character made the haphazard way that other characters were thrown in seem jarring. Because the story is from a first-person perspective, all other character growth is described through Karen’s thoughts. Some of the major players are well remembered for their importance to Karen. However, many new characters are not given the time to develop a relationship with the main character.

The pacing, I thought, quickly moved from one event to the next with barely any transition; I was left with no concrete timeline. Although the author mentioned tentative time frames, and the ambiguous period of various events was intentional, every section of the story felt similar.

But these are minor glitches in a book that has a lot of potential for the characters and expanding story line. These issues only stand out to me because I was so invested in the character and story. Nikki Haase has command of an entertaining writing style that elevates Experiment X: Exposed above many of the dystopian fiction I’ve read this year.

Pages: 262 | ASIN: B06W9NC7B7

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