This intellectualized sci-fi finale deftly delivers eccentricities and deities that set it apart from most shaggy-god...

WHO ARE FRACONY?

From the Fracony series , Vol. 3

Benevolent aliens save humans on Earth from extinction—but discord arises over the visitors’ heretical religious views.

In Moldovan’s (The World Ends Tomorrow, 2018, etc.) sci-fi trilogy, the nation of Esperanto dominated late 24th-century Earth, a planet of 28 billion people. But on Jupiter’s moon Europa, a colony of space folk known as the Fracony was monitoring and directing human affairs. Secretly allied with elites in the Esperanto government—mainly the popular chief executive (“secretary”) Clara—the Fracony came to the rescue after human-caused eco-disasters and plagues struck. Still, only half a billion people survived. With the Fracony now out in the open in this third installment, Clara grants the humanlike ETs (actually alien souls projected across the universe to be born in human bodies) a lab in Antarctica. But the public is displeased by the aliens’ mission: ascertain if Earth was originally a Fracony world billions of years ago, before the solar system’s resident god did a “reset” to create Homo sapiens as obedient worshippers. The Fracony’s polytheist cosmology—numerous gods who are, essentially, exponentially advanced aliens—outrages some Esperanto citizens, especially the tradition-bound priest and “Minister of Religious Affairs” Quinn. Quinn’s anti-Fracony campaign is manipulated by Arram, a leader of a secret society, who covets power. From assassination to media exploitation, Arram uses his allies, agents, and Quinn to remove rivals and turn public opinion against the Fracony. But Arram underestimates Clara, the Fracony, and even fanatical Quinn.      Romanian-born Moldovan offers sci-fi more akin to philosophical musing (with a faintly satirical edge) than anything concretely speculative in terms of future super-science or tech. It would help if readers were familiar (as every 25th-century schoolkid is) with Russian scientist Nikolai Kardashev’s categories of theoretical cosmic civilizations. Type I can use energy to dominate its home world; type II can harness the total energy of its star system; type III can control neighboring systems; and so on, each more godlike than the next. Even in 2427, humanity is only “type 0.” The Fracony are “type V” and not immune to literally playing god, even as the “real” deities they acknowledge may fall in the “type VI” or “type VII” stages. The author toys with religion here in the same way more conventional sci-fi writers handle FTL drives, robots, and exobiology. He throws in some truly inspired bits of Robert Anton Wilson-scale weirdness when Arram wrangles leaders of the other sinister secret societies so beloved of conspiracy fiction (Freemasons, Illuminati, Bilderberg, etc.) for meetings that end up being discussions of Euclidean versus non-Euclidean geometry. Which are important. Still, characters tend to be mouthpieces for ideas and symbols rather than three-dimensional players, and much of the loosey-goosey storyline is left unresolved by the end (the matter of Earth’s God, for example). What’s clear is Moldovan’s condemnation of dogmatic religious mania, as shown in one character’s summation of the dangerous Quinn: “Truth has nothing to do with this guy’s values. His problem is that whatever is not in his holy books does not exist.” No players come forth as Adam or Eve stand-ins, which is a remarkable feat for sci-fi in these territories.

This intellectualized sci-fi finale deftly delivers eccentricities and deities that set it apart from most shaggy-god stories.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Kurti Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 59

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

more