TERROR OCCULTA by Victor Paletta


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One man’s sci-fi journey from nameless numbered Corporal 1412 to celebrated Commander Dray.

Paletta vividly paints a future where humans have been driven underground, existing largely in military compounds which protect groups of civilians. This future is also occupied by cults, reptilian beings bent on destroying humanity, drones, battle droids, cyborgs, advanced propulsion systems, armored bio-suits and Morphic Formula (an elixir given to Elites to super-energize them and enable them to morph into animalistic forms). Corporal 1412 and his group are being trained to become Elite soldiers prepared to engage in military maneuvers on the surface. The major warring factions, cults and humans, create and deploy drones to monitor enemy activity, especially around the Dead Zones–no man’s lands where Elites must stay undetected to stay alive. Super predators of all kinds, from python-like creatures easily able to consume a man whole, to supersized alligators, dinosaur-like lizards and massive cats all make appearances, though no one seems to know how they came into existence. The relationships between characters are stiff and thin in places, particularly between Dray and love interest Jamie, a scientist’s assistant. Several other characters–Al, Madge and Tulip–don’t add much to the plot other than some slight color. Paletta has illustrated the book, though the visuals are unnecessary, as his descriptions are vivid and detailed. Each chapter has a Latin title–fitting, since Latin-speaking allies come to Dray’s aid at the climax of the story. However, these titles smack of pretension. The book’s back states that the “paradox of the myth of love, and the pure love for another” is what allows Dray to save mankind, but Paletta doesn’t make these concepts sufficiently tangible for the reader.

An intriguing, fantastical view of humankind’s future.

Pub Date: Oct. 3rd, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4392-0256-2
Program: Kirkus Indie
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