Scientists using suspicious technology may be seeking to trigger an apocalypse in this novel from debut author Ormziar.
A theologian named Hast wakes up in 2060 from a striking nightmare. Having envisioned a day of judgment for mankind, he cannot easily shake the images. As he comments to his wife, “Doomsday is perhaps on its way” after all. A week ago, “he had read a news article where scientists were warning people that a deadly meteor was heading toward earth, and it was set to hit it by 2068.” Days after his dream, Hast is contacted by Interpol agent Mark Robinson. Working on a tip that “someone was trying to play the role of God and was planning to control everyone’s mind,” Mark finds himself examining a large scientific project called The New ARK. TNARK, as the endeavor is known, is ostensibly engaged in the process of using “genetic engineering to modify human genes in order to create a super organism.” There are, however, suspicions that something much more sinister is at play. When, during Mark’s investigation into mind control, he comes across Hast’s writings on the subject as well as his work on end-of-days prophecies, Mark realizes that he might be looking for the Antichrist. So begins an unlikely alliance that seeks to thwart a scientific attempt at world domination. Making use of “3D bio-printing technology” and other near-future (and present-day) advancements, the scenario delivers its share of wild, albeit not too wild, ideas. The result is an overall eeriness that would not exist in a more fantastical premise. Dialogue tends to be obvious, as when Mark first meets Hast and informs him that he seems to “have an impressive knowledge about the history of religions, especially Abrahamic faiths.” Nevertheless, at under 300 pages, the book moves quickly and encompasses topics ranging from the duality of Zoroastrianism to “blue light brain control.” As strange as such a convergence may initially seem, it results in an ambitious narrative that never lacks in fatalistic intrigue.
Despite lackluster dialogue, this book expertly manages a sci-fi conceit that is as bizarre as it is ultimately plausible.