Sleeper, by T.J. Hawkins, is a suspenseful thriller action that follows the life of Tom Rivers, an MI5 agent put into a hypnotic ‘sleep’ to be activated when the right time arises. After twenty-five years in this state, his time to awaken and take on his destiny has arrived. With a terrorist planning to destroy Britain and the United States, Tom must embrace his abilities and catch the terrorist threatening humanity.
I was enthralled from the very beginning. Hawkins captures the reader at every page, feeding our desires for a unique plotline, heart-pounding suspense, and an exciting thriller. It is clear from each chapter that the author has carefully thought out the information he feeds to the reader and how this will be interpreted by the reader. This is crucially important given the delicate political and social themes he brings up.
I commend Hawkins for acknowledging the power he holds as an author and ensuring he does not promote negative stigma around religious faith, thoroughly considering the words he is using. Hawkin’s shaping and subsequent development of Tom’s character are sublime. In a matter of pages, Mr. Rivers goes from hypnotic sleep to awake, and not once does it feel implausible. Each tiny shift in character allows the reader to fully appreciate the stark contrast between ordinary architect and exemplary agent and begin to delve into the exciting challenges the plotline may indeed encounter. We are in suspense from the very beginning and never disappointed throughout.
From an ethical standpoint, there may be some criticism of the use of agents and the perceived creation of ‘Lebensborn’ Esq individuals, especially considering the ending’s implications. However, rather than supporting violence upon violence and genetic modification, Hawkin shapes some valid, albeit rather upsetting realities: this is “the war that never ends.” And this brings out a haunting realization that hangs across the readers as they edge towards the ending, urging them to read further and, once finished, wish that there was more.
Sleeper is a riveting technothriller and mystery that pulls readers in from the opening pages and keeps them on edge till the end. The suspense that the author can create feels realistic and has your heart pounding with each new twist and turn of the plot, waiting to see the outcome.
Pages: 333 | ASIN : B0B3ZC2YVH
Posted in Book Reviews, Five Stars
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The Cloud Gone Haywire
Sector 10 follows a tech-conglomerate that inadvertently causes Earth to time travel into an alternate reality where humanity may not survive. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?
Sector 10 is the prequel to Cloud 9 and both novels are set in the Cloud Series and the world it creates with cloud computing as its theme. Virtual reality is the main inspiration for creating an alternate reality. But other emerging science like horticultural LED lighting in greenhouses or verticle farms, different artificial light recipes, and other photobiology agriculture inspired the idea of an outbreak. A classic science fiction trope is the entire idea of an alien invasion and also deadly contagions wreaking havoc on the world. Sector 10 combines these ideas into a new form of physics that brings about an outbreak of radiation seeping over from a parallel universe. Quantum computing and advanced physics are making things like teleportation more real, of not just our bodies, but our consciousness.
I found the science in the novel to be well developed. What kind of research did you do to make sure you got it all right?
The science in Sector 10 was all about breaking boundaries of what constitutes reality and making the Earth a melting-pot for not only natural evolution but also genetic modification. Whether that be the eugenics and plastic surgery that made these Greys possible, or Yhemlen living among dinosaurs, and let’s not forget humans were suffering at the hands of the Cloud gone haywire. I wanted to integrate the Cloud and the physics of space travel together. As you may know, computers in deep space are prone to problems related to radiation but in Sector 10 we find that the inverse is more true and that the Cloud helps navigation through alternate reality and time. The main idea of it all – we live in a simulation. And because of it, the Cloud is directing our manipulation of reality and atomic physics that is the basis of the science we know. Also, photobiology was a big inspiration for how parallel universes were being accessed via light and highlighting special relativity. But if we run with the idea of humanity as part of a simulation, what came about in my research most was how to give order to seemingly chaotic processes.
The science inserted in the fiction, I felt, was well balanced. How did you manage to keep it grounded while still providing the fantastic edge science fiction stories usually provide?
Characterization was key. I want readers to feel an emotional response to the people of the novel and make their own assumptions or conclusions about what the story is presenting. The danger present in the Cloud malfunction was that it was being integral to the world stage. Ellis Island in New York was where people came to make a new life in America. Similarly, the Cloud is the mechanism that is allowing Ellis Bartram and his crew of scientists to make upload their minds via total immersion, and also giving an avenue for radiation to leak through. The urban setting of Washington, D.C. was also a vital addition to the science in that classified information, the such that’s available at our nation’s capital, needed to be publicized, but was being withheld by powers who were intent on solving a mysterious event. In all, science was affecting everyone because of its reach and influence and is something that our world of computing could attest to.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
The sequel to Cloud 9 and Sector 10 will be titled, Recon 8, and in the beginning, will be set in the year 2111, so a couple of years after Cloud 9. Solar punk will be a major influence in Recon 8 and will both brighten and provide nuance to the technology and provide “green” movement vibes that will make a return in this novel as an anchor of society. That book should be published by 2025, but to know the plot and see what else happens, we’ll have to wait.
Posted in Interviews
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Grydscaen: Sheer by Natsuya Uesugi sets the stage for a world of drama, art, and sacrifice. The students of the IHS School of the Arts are passionate and have big goals. They are driven and talented, yet things are complicated in their lives. They have to deal with troubled relationships and the weight of being part of the school’s elite. Despite the beauty it produces, the art world is filled with cruel and gruesome events underneath, and these students see no other option but to turn to drugs, alcohol, and sex to deal with it all. Art galleries, shows, auditions, recitals, and performances: a series of these are shown alongside the troubles to get to them and the mental health problems these artists have to deal with while carrying on their careers.
The story mainly focuses on Arthenice Zidane, a talented ballerina who dreams of becoming prima. Arthenice has skill and passion, but her lack of confidence and innocence might get in the way and not allow her to succeed in the complex art world. She has a group of loyal friends, though, and they are willing to do everything in their power to make Arthenice’s life easier. But unfortunately, dance is a cutthroat business, and Arthenice might not have the strength to make it to the end.
There are many characters in the book, and they are all dealing with similar problems. It was interesting to see the different art-related careers that each of them had and how they brought their uniqueness into things. There’s a lot of competitiveness and uncertainty about who gets ahead. There are also heavy themes that are dealt with that involve alcohol, drugs, and sexual abuse. This helps showcase the crazy sacrifices that people in the art world are willing to make and sparks a discussion about the damaged mental health of these students. Even though the story is set in a fictional world, these themes were presented realistically and were based on serious problems that artists have to deal with in the modern day.
This book is filled with intense emotions. The students are very passionate and willing to do everything to be at the top of their class and help their friends achieve the same goal. However, they need to find sponsors, and they might have to sacrifice their integrity to get what they want. The relationships between them are complicated and full of ups and downs.
Grydscaen: Sheer is an intense, dramatic story that will keep the reader wondering how everything will turn out in the end. This fantasy novel focuses on the art world and the many sacrifices that have to be made to make it big. Readers of dance fiction, drama, and thrillers will find this a fantastic novel.
Pages: 224 | ISBN : 1643763415
Posted in Book Reviews, Four Stars
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