Exuberant and entertaining, slyly avoiding camp with plausible, albeit superpower-infused, characters.

THE FORGOTTEN FEDERATION

A scientist assembles a second-generation group of superheroes to battle a global government bent on dominating humanity in Fiction Factory Incorporated’s debut sci-fi tale.

Dr. Andre Hudson’s ashamed of the work he’s done for President Ophelia Keating. After orchestrating the merging of world governments into one, known as Parliament, Keating instigated a way to regulate birthrate via the Human Reproductive Vector, which Hudson helped develop. HRV-EST (appropriately pronounced “harvest”) essentially peddles embryos, favoring the wealthy with perfect, genetically engineered children. Now a professor at Harland University, Hudson takes pride in his part of the Federation, superheroes who protected humans from alien ruler Goliaric of planet Xenoe, thwarting his plan to rule Earth. Hudson’s the only one left, and the only one without powers, but he sees hope in a TV report on teen Ellen Braxton, who allegedly killed someone using electricity she generated. Others crop up, like speedster Damian Gunner, with superpowers very similar to the original Federation members. Keating notices them too, and to be on the safe side, she sends twins Snitch and Scoundrel, Xenozians thought to have evacuated Earth long ago, to kill Ellen and the rest. The president fears new superheroes will put a damper on her devious plot, which is to avoid any uprising from citizens by, quite simply, eradicating the poor ones. Like all good superhero yarns, the author’s novel first lays the groundwork with a convincing plot and characters. Ellen, for one, is tormented by her mother’s sleazy boyfriend, Eddie, while the haunted Hudson is shrouded in mystery. The story has fun with genre fans’ expectations: David Porter’s power is initially unknown, and one character suggests fresh superhero names (rather than adopting old ones) and costume redesigns. Dialogue does tend to be interchangeable: nearly everyone says “dude” at some point, and even reptilian alien Snitch throws in an “awesome.” But the exhilarating adventure rarely falters: powers on display, beaucoup showdowns with formidable baddies, and an ending that promises further adventures for its superheroes—and maybe a few more villains.

Exuberant and entertaining, slyly avoiding camp with plausible, albeit superpower-infused, characters.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5351-7178-6

Page Count: 360

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2016

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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