by Arne P. Thomassen ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 17, 2012
The Matrix meets Dante’s Inferno in an overloaded (Holy) ghost story.
In Thomassen’s unwieldy sci-fi debut, technology goes berserk and threatens to enslave the human race.
On the brink of an invention capable of changing the world forever, a British “doctor-engineer in the field of energy safety,” Roger Hamlock, dies in a head-on collision while driving his Ford Tacoma to work. At first, he thinks it’s just a dream, but when he encounters an otherworldly female presence, or “Watcher,” named Pantha Maria, he begins an adventure to find his killers, part of a worldwide mafia, led by “His Holiness BIG Pa, the Millennium Dragon, Antichrist personified,” seeking to control the world by brainwashing the human race. Reincarnated in the body of a Norwegian infant named Roger Amundsen, Roger grows up to study astrophysics and, at the age of 25, sets out to fulfill his mission to destroy Holochryne, a holographic cyborg intent on annihilating mankind through World War III. From an abyss below the Caribbean island of Cram, the “transparent house-sized robot” controls BIG Pa and the marauding armies of the Moogoo Empire, led by Yuk Chow and the general of New Russia. Joined in his battle by a “supergroup of well-trained clairvoyants,” Roger journeys through this dreamlike world, “dead as a salted herring,” and learns the true meaning of life. Woven through his winding tale of redemption are reflections on the true identity of UFOs, electromagnetic hypersensitivity, “Christ consciousness” and the Holy Spirit as an “information channel.” Thomassen balances precariously between derivative sci-fi and Christian dogma. Numerous characters are introduced; many turn out to be irrelevant, many simply confusing. The narrator detracts from the plot by engaging in supremely complex subjects. Acknowledging the abundance of scientific jargon, his own fantastic creations and endless religious references, Thomassen provides a detailed 9-page glossary. “Physical reality is a form of virtual reality,” one character wisely observes. “You cannot see the quantum soup” that holds everything together. Perhaps that’s Thomassen’s main problem: He fails to establish at least one reality for the reader to believe in.The Matrix meets Dante’s Inferno in an overloaded (Holy) ghost story.
Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2012
Page Count: 336
Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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by Max Brooks ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 16, 2020
A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).
A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.
Pub Date: June 16, 2020
Page Count: 304
Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine
Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020
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BOOK TO SCREEN
by Travis Baldree ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 7, 2023
Warm and wonderful.
A prequel to the popular cozy fantasy Legends & Lattes (2022).
Viv is a fighter. It’s not just what she does, it’s who she is. So when she gets wounded during a battle with a necromancer’s skeletal wights, and her crew dumps her in a small seaside town to recover while they continue on after the necromancer, she is not happy about it. But soon enough, against her will, she’s drawn into the life of the town. There’s Fern, the unsuccessful bookseller, who has a knack for recommending exactly the right book. And there’s Maylee, the baker, who not only makes the world’s best baked goods, she actually winks at Viv. Before Viv knows what’s happening, she’s helping Fern out here and there, she’s reading—she’s involved. Meanwhile, there’s a pesky young gnome asking for an introduction to her mercenary crew, and a mysterious man in gray who looks like trouble. But Viv is leaving when her crew comes back through town. No matter what. This prequel gives readers a glimpse of Viv as a young orc, still committed to the fighter’s life, just taking an enforced break in a charming town populated by compelling, richly drawn characters, and the slightest hint of danger in the wind. Despite the lurking necromancer, the vibes are decidedly warm and cozy, and the plot is just as much about saving the bookstore and building relationships as it is about protecting the town from the man in gray. As a prequel, it can stand alone, but will certainly satisfy fans as well.Warm and wonderful.
Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023
Page Count: 288
Review Posted Online: Sept. 22, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023
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