A zooming grand-slam of sci-fi fun.

UNIVERSITY OF DOOM

Acevedo (Rescue from Planet Pleasure, 2016, etc.) offers a middle-grade sci-fi adventure about talented father-and-son scientists who find themselves banished to the suburbs.

Thirteen-year-old Alfonso Frankenstein attends the Dr. Moreau Junior Academy, and his father, Dr. Eugino Frankenstein, teaches at the University of Doom. After creating a zombie badger in his Cadaver Recomposition class and setting off a cascade of animal reanimations, Alfonso tries to contact his father. He finds, unfortunately, that because of a “system quarantine” at the university, he can’t communicate with Dr. Frankenstein. He soon learns that his dad has been removed from the University of Doom for “nine counts of playing God”—despite the school’s motto of “LUDIMUS DEUS”: “We play God.” This forces the Frankensteins to move to a battered, split-level home in suburbia. The problems begin immediately when Sarah, a neighbor and Alfonso’s classmate at Ty Cobb Middle School, accidentally hits him in the face with a baseball—although the teenagers soon become friends. However, Alfonso also learns that Professor Moriarty, the family nemesis who orchestrated Dr. Frankenstein’s firing, has apparently followed them to their new home. At school, Alfonso must navigate a new world of bullies and boring assignments while keeping a lookout for the next phase of Moriarty’s vengeful scheme. In this feast of middle-grade weirdness, Acevedo caters to fans of smart, retro sci-fi; baseball; and, of course, gross-out horror. Crackling prose brings the various creatures to life—and often inventive death—such as zombies whose “Feathers and skin crinkled into ash and sloughed away, revealing flesh that glopped from skeletons.” The author maintains a youthful mindset when critiquing big ideas in science, such as the notion of human minds merging with the web: “Is that where they want to meld their consciousness?” comments Dr. Frankenstein. “With cheesy pop-up ads for easy credit and ring tones?” He even establishes a few new elements—such as Otis Carroll, librarian and intergalactic assassin—for use in a potential sequel. By the end, readers of all ages will definitely crave further adventures in this anything-goes world.

A zooming grand-slam of sci-fi fun.

Pub Date: July 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9964039-8-6

Page Count: -

Publisher: Hex Publishers

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2017

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A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.

SHOW TRIALS

HOW PROPERTY GETS MORE LEGAL PROTECTION THAN PEOPLE IN OUR FAILED IMMIGRATION SYSTEM

A highly organized, informative discussion of the immigration system in the United States.

In this politically charged environment, Afrasiabi manages to broach the volatile issue of immigration in a well-rounded, surprisingly effective framework that combines case studies, historical research, statistical analysis and personal anecdotes to detail the current issues and propose solutions. Invocations of Kafka, “The Twilight Zone” and “Alice in Wonderland” prove warranted as illustrations of the often surreal circumstances that confront immigrants facing deportation. Immigrants usually lack access to quality legal representation, while their situation can be made doubly difficult due to language barriers and significant cultural differences. Afrasiabi incorporates his work with colleagues and students at the Chapman University School of Law to deftly weave together the facts of several compelling cases and their underlying legal issues, with a genuine sense of suspense as readers wonder if justice will be truly be served. Occasionally, though, the narrative becomes overwrought—two federal laws passed in 1996 are “dark storm clouds depositing their sleet”—although, considering the life-changing effects of court decisions, it’s difficult to overstate the ramifications: extralegal rendition of individuals with pending cases and the de facto deportation of native-born children whose parents are deported. Afrasiabi also addresses the legacy of various anti-alien laws in California, as well as marriage equality for same-sex couples when one partner is a noncitizen. As the subtitle asserts, Afrasiabi employs his additional experience in the field of property law to contrast the stark differences between immigration judges and constitutional judges, like their qualifications, vetting processes and even the oaths they take. His arguments culminate in seven concrete reforms proposed in the conclusion. In order to make the immigration system more just and effective, Afrasiabi claims the solutions are closer than we may think; we can implement procedures and safeguards already in place within the constitutional courts.

A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 249

Publisher: Kurti Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.

NO REMORSE

Walkley pits CIA agents against a maniacal Saudi prince intent on starting World War III in this debut thriller.

Delta Force operative Lee McCloud, aka Mac, finds himself in Mexico, trying to rescue two teenage girls kidnapped by a drug cartel. But things go from bad to worse when the villains don’t play by the rules. Framed for two murders he didn’t commit, Mac has two options: go to prison or go to work for a CIA black-op group run by the devious Wisebaum, who hacks into terrorists’ bank accounts and confiscates millions of dollars. However, there’s more going on than meets the eye; Saudi Prince Khalid is in possession of nuclear canisters, with which he hopes to alter world history. Khalid also dabbles in trafficking young women, and harvesting and selling human organs. When Wisebaum’s black-op team targets Khalid’s father, the action becomes even more intense. With so many interweaving subplots—kidnapped girls, Israeli undercover agents, nuclear weapons and a secret underwater hideout—it could be easy to lose track of what’s going on. But the author’s deft handling of the material ensures that doesn’t occur; subplots are introduced at the appropriate junctures and, by story’s end, all are accounted for and neatly concluded. Mac is portrayed as a rough and ready action-hero, yet his vulnerabilities will evoke empathy in readers. He finds a love interest in Tally, a hacker whose personality is just quirky enough to complement his own. All Walkley’s primary characters are fleshed out and realistic, with the exception of Wisebaum—a malicious, double-dealing, back-stabber of the worst ilk; the reader is left wondering about Wisebaum’s motivations behind such blatant treachery.

Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0980806601

Page Count: 412

Publisher: Marq Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2012

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