More a New Age encyclopedic exegesis than standard ufology.

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THE RESPONSE

An Earth man is befriended by advanced, peaceful, human-like space beings who teach him about their spirituality and science.

Hawnser claims to have associated with alien beings, but his book, a translation of his 1997 manuscript La Respuesta, casts his revelations as a largely plotless tutorial novel. Its value resides in the reader’s openness to the instruction. In 1989, protagonist Eric encounters a flying saucer and its occupants, including a lovely uniformed female, Mirza, and her male cohort, Rahel. Via meetings, teleportations and dream-state visions, they instruct Eric about the aliens’ Big Picture. The gist is this: Earth is on the verge of a “New Era,” but is still too “backwards” to merit open alien contact. It’s one of the 619 planets in this galaxy with “human” populations. There is not actually one universe but seven, grouped around God’s headquarters. Civilizations achieving Nirvana-like equilibrium based on virtue, science and love, enjoy long lives, harmony with nature, telepathic communication, a cash-free economy, travel on conveyor-belt networks, transcendence to better dimensions and other wonders. Earth’s people can progress to such a ”super-man” stage by obeying teachings of Micael, aka Jesus of Nazareth, who was one of many Micael messiahs sent by the Creator to elevate the inhabited worlds. Quantum mechanics and physics of the micro-cosmos, explained by the author with various charts and drawings (ditto the accommodations aboard the saucers), are key to unifying science and religion. Faith, despite the mention of Jesus, takes on an Eastern tone, with talk of chakra energy, dharma, karma and reincarnation. What of the rumors casting aliens as menacing, black-eyed, silent beings abducting and anal-probing victims in UFO lore? Irresponsible science-fiction, writes Hawnser. Some may find Hawnser’s own aliens a bit Starfleet-like, right down to a non-intervention policy in Earth affairs (except via messengers such as Eric). As for solid proof of his allegations, Hawnser—who admires skeptic-scientists like Carl Sagan—only promises future discoveries, such as stars apparently predating the Big Bang, that will shore up this cosmology. Astrophysics passages are probably the most accessible to general readers, whilst the majority proposes a U(FO)topian manifesto exhorting its disciples to wisdom.

More a New Age encyclopedic exegesis than standard ufology. 

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2009

ISBN: 978-1426914478

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Trafford

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2012

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

DEVOLUTION

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

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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A perilous, magic-school adventure that falls short of its potential.

A DEADLY EDUCATION

From the The Scholomance series , Vol. 1

A loosely connected group of young magicians fight horrendous creatures to ensure their own survival.

Galadriel "El" Higgins knows how dangerous the Scholomance is. Her father died during the school's infamous graduation ceremony, in which senior students run through a gauntlet of magic-eating monsters, just to make sure her pregnant mother made it out alive. Now a student herself at the nebulous, ever shifting magic school, which is populated with fearsome creatures, she has made not making friends into an art form. Not that anyone would want to be her friend, anyway. The only time she ever met her father's family, they tried to kill her, claiming she posed an existential threat to every other wizard. And, as a spell-caster with a natural affinity for using other people's life forces to power destructive magic, maybe she does. No one gave Orion Lake that memo, however, so he's spent the better part of the school year trying to save El from every monster that comes along, much to her chagrin. With graduation fast approaching, El hatches a plan to pretend to be Orion's girlfriend in order to secure some allies for the deadly fight that lies ahead, but she can't stop being mean to the people she needs the most. El's bad attitude and her incessant info-dumping make Novik's protagonist hard to like, and the lack of chemistry between the two main characters leaves the central romantic pairing feeling forced. Although the conclusion makes space for a promising sequel, getting there requires readers to give El more grace than they may be willing to part with.

A perilous, magic-school adventure that falls short of its potential.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Del Rey

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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