"Readers will delight in Mellott’s flights of imagination as well as in his feel for emotional slapstick; ...this action-packed tale will satisfy readers looking for entertainment with substance."– Kirkus Reviews
An agency monitoring illegal manipulation of electromagnetic waves may have uncovered an attempt to control humanity in Mellott’s (Exophobe, 2012, etc.) latest sci-fi outing.
Enoch Maarduk has a heap of troubles now that he’s CEO of Preventing Horrors and Nightmares Through Active Spectrum Monitoring. For starters, an electromagnetic entity, or eemee, named Jabel may have escaped its electromagnetic spectrum through the last active pentacle (a gateway of sorts into the human world). At the same time, someone has also tried to hack into PHANTASM, and Enoch’s old enemy, Hume, despite his comatose state, is missing from his hospital bed. So Enoch; Enoch’s fiancee/co-worker, Phoebe; and friendly eemee Dee (an ever present voice in Enoch’s ComUnit) travel to Scotland to stop Jabel from retrieving pentacle schematics. There’s a lot happening in the first half, but Mellott wisely focuses on the team’s tracking of Jabel. Enoch’s tendency to make lists also keeps the subplots in order, including the introduction of a new creature called an eemite that, unlike eemees, isn’t limited to occupying the human body when on Earth. Tension escalates, especially once Enoch, et. al., find another eemee, Luriel. He and Jabel have drastically different ways to thwart a genetic virus that adversely affects human intelligence, and Enoch isn’t sure which, if either, to trust. The latter half, comprised largely of dialogue, slows as Enoch discusses with the eemees how best to combat the virus. The narrative becomes almost entirely conceptual during the lengthy scene within the electromagnetic spectrum, where physical bodies don’t truly exist, and Mellott doesn’t give the spectrum much of a visual description. Still, the prose is intellectually invigorating, and theories generated by characters are striking. Enoch is a breezy protagonist who never shies away from a pun, freely acknowledging that at least some of them are terrible. He likewise avoids hard-core cursing; “crap,” it seems, is his word of choice or weird variations like “Key-Wrap.”
Leisurely paced but intelligent and profound, even at its goofiest.
A zippy sci-fi adventure that keeps both the narrator and the reader on their toes.
Usually on a Friday night, blogger Enoch Maarduk would be out with his buddies, drinking beer and trying his luck with the ladies. But on the one night he decides to stay home, his life changes forever: A representative—Phoebe, who happens to be beautiful—from a shadowy organization called PHANTASM shows up at Enoch’s door with an offer and a mission. PHANTASM claims that Enoch’s theoretical, unproven work on electromagnetic energy is far from fantastical; in fact, it presents real potential for—and danger to—the future of mankind. As Enoch and Phoebe embark upon an investigation into a colleague’s mysterious death, they discover a global network of electromagnetic beings that can manipulate another creature’s volition as a means of achieving their own nefarious ends. As Enoch and Phoebe dig deeper, they uncover a plot that brings the revelation unsettlingly close to home—humans may be the next target. Mellott blends high-tech sci-fi with rapid-fire dialogue, making for an appropriately high-energy reading experience. Told from Enoch’s point of view, the narrative balances the action with its protagonist’s inner thoughts and witty asides. Occasionally, Enoch is a bit too clever for his own good, posturing for the reader and for Phoebe, but he’s just as often cut down to size by his own folly and boyish arrogance via sharp one-liners delivered by the flinty Phoebe. Readers will delight in Mellott’s flights of imagination as well as in his feel for emotional slapstick.
Steeped in cutting-edge neuroscience, literary arcane and comic-book culture, this action-packed tale will satisfy readers looking for entertainment with substance.