Raptor Ray

Raptor Ray, “self-published via KDP”, copyright and written multi-genre e-book by Brent Reilly.

Plot/Characters: The year is 2025 and the beautiful wife of brilliant geneticist Dr. Ramundo Ramirez, is having a designer baby at 6 months because she looked like a huge 9 months and the fetus had begun pushing for delivery. The mother, a 7’ tall, also brilliant geneticist was a genetically enhanced woman herself and had insisted that she give birth to a dinosaur hybrid. Her desires were fulfilled. Sonograms had pictured the fetus as really weird and the obstetrician Bennet had delivered thousands of babies but admittedly this was the first delivery of a non-homo sapiens in 30,000 years. He does a C-section, an extraordinarily large baby explodes out. It has a tail but no feathers or body hair, strange yellow eyes, two claws and a thumb for each hand, scaly skin, and feet presenting three talons only, like an eagle. The delivery causes unstoppable bleeding and she dies. Ramiraz suddenly realizes that she had been more interested in producing this hybrid than in raising it. He is devastated, wants nothing to do with the child. Bennet’s daughter Emily, also attending, cleans the baby but cannot stop its crying. His irascible mother Wilda sees the baby and the two equate immediately. She tells son and Emily to go back to playing God, she would stop teaching and although suffering from Parkinson’s, will take care of this child who had special needs.

The story then turns to the General, the character around whose activity most of the story revolves and with whom (and/or his relatives/offspring) the reader is taken into a long ride through sci-fi accomplishments some of which no doubt already are on the drawing board while others still are on a list of anticipated conjecture. Included are his ability to generate clean electricity, provide potable water putting desalination plants out of business, and transmit it all to where people live, and more. The Pacific Ocean had a million uninhabited islands because of lack of reliable drinking water. He took over, developed them and gathered them together as a country which he owned. He developed a thermal nuclear source far better than electrolysis – placed them as artificial islands calling them ‘sea cities’. These were defenseless until the Jacksons got their own country, claimed an exclusion zone and confiscated ships that fished there. He developed a metal stronger and lighter than steel enabling him to construct the tallest skyscrapers etc. etc. and Luxury resorts cheaper than any. Pre-planned cities with cheapest transportation, education, healthcare, maximized walkability. His family, brilliant geneticists, ran the designer baby clinics that already had produced some of these dominating science, sports, acting, medicine and others who now were in their 20’s. A utopia? Possibly, but this all is dependent upon the General who might be summarily described as often rude, crude, lewd and despicable in his personal as well as business tactics but make make him the first certified Trillionaire. The tactics include manipulative banking activity, short-trading, invoking discontent, riots and more. He ruins Australia, and thousands of parties attempting to stop him collectively lost trillions. He shorted publically-traded counterparties, Goldman Sachs stocks crashed as well as others and he made a trillion just on shorting thousands of financial firms and used the media to inflame Americans so they wouldn’t fund necessary defense/attack needs so he could take over.

Discussion: The author has presented a lengthy treatise on the physical troubles facing today’s world and its inhabitants with additional ways in which these problems could be eliminated mostly, unfortunately by means not yet available. The activities additionally mirror much of the subversive activity that is so apparent in political maneuvering on the international level. This definitely is a book that should appeal to sci-fi/fantasy/thriller devotees. This reviewer’s personal enjoyment would have been much enhanced if some of the descriptions of building the various cities and those of the frequent battles could have been edited sufficiently as to be less redundant. i.e. although admittedly varied, much redundancy could have been eliminated. One other curious note – given the apparent importance of Raptor Ray’s birth, it seems, at least to this reviewer, odd that only the occasional chapter was devoted to his activities until close to the book’s end.

3* Basically sci-fi, multi-genre story exploring numerous modern world problems.

 

Harnessing Altruism

Harnessing Altruism ISBN: 9780473382957, ABSeeS (New Zealand) Publisher, an e-book by Sava Buncic.

The book opens with an Epigraph paraphrasing French philosopher Auguste Comte’s definition of altruism as an “ethical doctrine based on a belief that the moral value of an individual’s actions is defined primarily by how they affect other people, and the consequences on the individual are secondary to that. Accordingly, the regulative supremacy of social sympathy over the selfish instincts is the first and foremost aspect of morality.” Immediately following is a description from British ethologist Richard Dawkins describing selfishness as “something all individuals are born with, because they are merely survival machines directed and used by the selfish molecules known as genes for their own preservation.” Thus he continues “This implies that inherently, altruism is an unstable system open to abuse, because selfish individuals are ready to exploit it.” The author’s preface follows with a questioning of Earth’s pathway with global warming, depletion of its resources and endless overpopulation rampant while most peoples’ thoughts of results are too “gloomy, bleak, scary, painful’ to face.” “We ignore visible signs that our current hedonism is not only self-serving so ethically questionable, but clearly biologically unsustainable, globally and in the long term.” The story itself opens as a gathering of leaders of the world’s nations is in progress to attempt to devise a credibly workable solution when it finally is discovered that only enough resources remain to support one-fifth of its total population. Their action is to establish the “World Organization for Resource Management (WORM)” with the largest and most productive nation as principal management. There follows a ‘worst scenario’ plot as the plan moves through its early stages into ensuing years as even the imposed measures begin to be insufficient. Then, as verbalized by one of the ‘important class’ to inform one of lesser status that it is very sad but to save civilization individual values such as morals, ethics, empathy, altruism must be sacrificed. Instead “…altruism must be looked at from mankind’s perspective…Yes, that’s the highest altruism. Altruism means not only that the stronger help the weaker to survive, altruism also means that the weaker don’t prevent the survival of the whole. What’s for the good of mankind is above the good for individuals.” “To protect our civilization, it’s necessary for some people to endure a much tougher fate than others, because those others – they’re crucial for the overall outcome”. The story continues to describe and present these ‘required’ activities for mankind to continue its existence and the enormous disparities that exist.

Discussion: This is a plot-driven story with little character development per se. The main protagonist is Ed, apparently the only surviving member of one of the smaller country’s Prime Ministers who was an early sacrifice to the initial scramble to establish control and a typical example of some of the baser actions of which mankind is capable. In spite of little character development, Ed does generate a certain amount of empathy, as does Naomi his ‘soul mate’. The author’s style of presentation requires a little ‘getting accustomed to’ and there often are sizeable time gaps where ‘probable activity’ must be deduced by the reader. Generally, the tale provides a grim picture that definitely is NOT for the reader looking for entertainment. However, for the reader who is concerned with global warming and other aspects of Earth’s problems, or even those who simply enjoy dystopian tales, this one’s for you – once you are able to adjust to the problems mentioned.

Conclusion: A dystopian slanted tale presented in a realistically harsh manner that should be enjoyed if this is within your sphere of interest and you can adjust to the features mentioned. For others, a depressing read.

3* 4* Dystopian slanted tale for readers concerned with Earth’s future; 2* for hiccups.