The Atmosphere of Angels


     The Atmosphere of Angels, Smashwords e-book Edition, written and copyright by H. C. Turk.

Parno Hadjara, along with Kathlynn Shumard, the desirable young woman next to him were admiring the scenery as the space boat was gradually approaching Kapnos 3, the new planet with whom purportedly their government was desirous of establishing a working relationship similar to others previously set up. Other members of the visiting party are Vera Pacetti (Chief Technician), Grazio (the pilot), Ward Hanshaw (The Project Director), and his wife Stacy (Financial Anthropologist). As the plot develops, it is discovered that the Kapnosans have no interest in anything the new arrivals have to offer. However, their planet is a tremendous source of ether ore which is scarce and is the basic element of the fuel required to drive their space boats. Thus, Parno, after only one previous deployment as a junior officer, now is the Stellar Service Off-World Emissary to attempt negotiations. Actually he was selected to keep Kathlynn occupied while the other members of the project mine and load surreptitiously the ore after which all will depart. Kathlynn must be ‘kept busy’ so as not to interfere. If discovered she, without hesitation, would terminate the project because as the Earth Nations United Designated Representative, this was exactly the type of activity the Earth Nations were attempting to eliminate. From this beginning, the story rolls following Parno and Kathlynn through numerous horrifying encounters as they attempt to make contact with the indigenous inhabitants until arriving at the somewhat unusual ending.

Describing this author’s book is somewhat of a daunting task. He exhibits a fine appreciation of Sci-Fi technology and verbalizes very well with often graphically detailed descriptions followed by specifically and accurately presented emotional reactions. Also, when a ‘different’ language is used, it is not awkwardly done as so often happens. However, character development of the two protagonists is a ‘mixed bag’. Basically it is adequate but their reactions frequently do not fit their character and/or activity. They just do not seem to ‘ring true’ to their purported professional level; e.g. many aspects of their sexual interest and expression thereof seem forced, uncharacteristic and even sophomoric for individuals purportedly of a degree of maturity to be assigned to posts of their level; similarly the occasional concurrent horror/humor sequences. Similarly again, the pace is ‘irregular’. In a general way it is maintained, but the endless sequences of attempting to escape the indigenous inhabitants’ structure would have benefited greatly by a little judicious editing and at least for this reader a little more about the other characters would have provided a more rounded story that would have greatly enhanced its enjoyment.

3*  4* Well-written horror (?) sci-fi; 3* regrettably for reasons presented.

The Labyrinth Wall

The Labyrinth Wall ISBN: 9780991531219, Obsidian Series – Book 1, Luminous Word Press, a fantasy e-book by Emilyann Girdner.

The protagonist is Ariana, a product of the ‘creators’ who bring seemingly large numbers of individuals to life. They are brought forth, given a basic supply of food and water and their choice of weapons and released into a surrounding labyrinthine area where they toil to collect obsidian for which they are paid with minimal supplies when brought to the collector/guards. Their compensation always is inadequate, so most kill each other in fighting literally to survive. The reigning powers could not care less, for they just create more. Ariana was created two years ago but with the development of an older teen and has been able to avoid killing because of adroit management and a seemingly well-developed ability to attain the necessities and avoid confrontations. The story progresses as she encounters one who frequently has killed along with others who are part of a group formed to work collectively so as to lessen/eliminate the need and this strange collection of individuals attempt to find a way out of their all-encompassing maze after encountering a stranger from ‘outside’. The tale presents closure to the action but also most appropriately provides entré to the next book.

The author has set forth a young adult fantasy that would appear to be more suitable for the younger portion of this scale for several reasons; most sentences are short, the verbalization seems more appropriate to this level, the characters are inconsistent in thought and action patterns and the activity level is sufficient to overcome the uneven pattern of presentation. A plus is that a glossary is provided at the end which a prospective reader would find helpful to peruse before starting the story.

3*    4* Interestingly devised plot; 3* flawed presentation as described.