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.