Tag: science fiction

48 Hours Book Review

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48 Hours by William R. Forstchen was another can’t put it down until finished book. Forstchen’s writing is compelling. He makes the reader think about the moral issues while weaving a fascinating tale. Furthermore, political nuances are incorporated throughout the novel.

The premise of 48 Hours is that the Earth is in line for an ELE (extinction level event) from a powerful solar flare. For those readers who have not tuned into the many Discovery Channel shows explaining CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) and other solar disturbances, Forstchen does an outstanding job weaving the science into his fictional story. He strikes a balance between education and entertainment.

48 Hours Settings

The author uses a dual setting in 48 Hours. The story opens up in Southwest Missouri. But an equally important thread takes place in Washington, D.C. with a second storyline. The two plots are stand alone, with a thin tie at the end.

Springfield, Mo.

The lead characters in Missouri are Darren and Darla Brooks. Both are in their second marriage with grown children. The blended family includes a sprinkling of grandchildren. They have ties to military. Darren served in the Mideast and Darla had recently sold a company supplying the military.

A previous CME from a few weeks ago is the current reality. A second hit is the basis of the plot. Darren is head of security for a cavernous underground site with sections either owned or leased by both governmental and private entities. This factor puts him at the center of the story.

Washington, D.C.

Dr. Richard Carrington V is the central character of the 48 Hours storyline based in the United States capitol. His interest in solar flares came naturally as the descendant of the first Richard Carrington. Both the solar event of 1859 and Carrington V are namesakes.

Moral Issue

Key to the novel is the various characters’ moral struggles brought on by the ELE. In a scenario where only one percent survive, who belongs in the continuity of mankind? Forstchen explores this concept, balancing altruistic efforts with the need to plan for future existence.

48 Hours contains individuals within the government and other positions of authority that “do the right thing.” But alas, they are more the exception than the rule. William R. Forstchen has once again written a fictional novel based in science that will give the reader pause. If there truly are a number of these underground facilities, how do we select in advance the survivors?

 

 

The Clarity Book Review

The Clarity

The Clarity is a first novel by Keith Thomas. Mr. Thomas writes for television and the movies. So his first book is not typical of a debut. I would categorize The Clarity as science-fiction horror story. If it were a movie, the release date would be late October. Warning: this book is full of suspense and some gruesome scenes.

A psychological experiment, primarily using orphans, is at the center of the plot. The main characters include a mother and daughter. The mom was part of the experiment, but escaped. Somehow the side-effects of the scientific trial are passed on genetically to her daughter.

Psychologist to the RescueBook Cover of The Clarity

The story begins in a run down complex on the outskirts of Chicago. A neighbor/babysitter asks Dr. Matilda Deacon visiting the building to look in on Ashanique, the daughter, while the mother, Jan, is at work. The brief visit intrigues the psychologist but the sudden return of the mom cuts the encounter short.

Unfolding events prompt Jan and Ashanique to contact Dr. Deacon for help. The action picks up as a murderer tracks all three down. The villain is also a former subject of the psychological study. He did not escape with the other participants of the science experiment. Now he is a killer controlled by the group continuing the study.

The plot has several twists and turns. A romantic interest for Dr. Deacon, a local policeman, enters the story. Kojo Omaboe serves as both a protector and a sounding board for Matilda. Their relationship lends reality to the story.

The sci-fi aspect of The Clarity revolves around the experiment. The scientists were focused on the brain. Both drugs and electroshock were used on the subjects. Some of the patients react differently and become the Null. This leads to great conflict with The Null patients seeking revenge.

Flashbacks

Memories and flashbacks are a major part of the book. The characters affected by the experiment are bombarded by reflections of past history, not necessarily their own. A key to the plot is the recovery of a chemical equation which would negate the memories. And the negative side effects.

Keith Thomas strikes terror in the reader’s heart with some of his scenes. Yet other parts of The Clarity are akin to existentialism. The idea of memory tracing back through DNA is hard to grasp. But as the side story of Dr. Deacon’s dementia ridden mother indicates, the memory process of the brain is still an unknown and uncontrolled. Who knows what powers the brain may hold?

The Clarity accurately conveys the threshold science is standing at with respect to unlocking the mysteries of the brain. Thomas weaves reality and future unknowns in a masterful way. The one caveat is the many gruesome scenes. They are graphic. The tortures sent chills through my body. I am not sure I could handle a film version unless my eyes were closed! If you want an edge of your seat thriller, The Clarity fits the bill.