This novelette is excellent. The writing is brilliant, intricate, devious, robust. I couldn’t put it down until I was finished. The author’s dark humor is reminiscent of J.D. Salinger or Kurt Vonnegut. For all I know, this guy is really Terry Pratchett under a fake pen name, or Douglas Adams reincarnated. I’d like this guy to write my obituary, I’m sure it would be a scream.
He paints a stark and freakish picture of our collective future, but manages to inject humor into nearly every aspect of the picture he paints. I found myself reading it just for the pleasure of his unusual prose.
In fact, the writing is so unique and enjoyable, I didn’t care how the story ended or what it meant. I just knew I had read something really special, really different.
I give 4 stars to the best books I read. No one gets 5 stars. In fact, I’m not sure the story is worth 5 stars, but this is 5 star writing, easily. I encourage other intelligent and discerning readers to sample this offering and see if they don’t agree. You have nothing to lose, since the book is free. And if you’re like me, you’ll search the intranets until you find his other book and pay actual money to acquire it.
One final note: a disclaimer. I don’t know this author. He lives in another country. I never met him. I never heard of him until I downloaded his book. And I’m not his mother either. Do your brain a favor and download this book now!
This book is unusual in several ways. I hope this is not taken as an insult to the author, who, I later found out, is a jedi blackbelt in the martial arts. By page 30, I said to my girlfriend/mistress/wife, ‘this guy is Chinese.’ And she said, “What’s his name?” So I scrolled back to the front of the book and found out it was John Jarvis. What could be more Anglo-Saxon than John Jarvis? So I told her it was probably a pseudonym. The Chinese are fond of assuming American names because they know we can’t pronounce their real names. But I kept reading.
About the book. It is, for real, a very different and upbeat divergence from the usual post-apocalyptic wasteland. It describes an interesting and detailed future of global unity where nation states and religion have been replaced with a benevolent scientific autocracy, (I think.) It’s very believable, due in part to the time-frame. The story takes place in the far future. (Hundreds of years hence.)
It has a distinctly oriental flavor despite the fact that the future was devoid of Orientals, or any other specific race. Early on, the author stresses the bio-engineered mingling of racial traits. Despite the variety of skin and eye colors, this genetic management leaves the population surprisingly homogenous, albeit well above average. I was surprised at the consequences of a supposedly utopian world. The book is lightly sprinkled with keen political and philosophical insights (zingers) that some might find provocative.
The plot gets a little tricky just about halfway through, and you really have to pay attention to understand what’s going on
What made me think that the author was Chinese, (or at least Oriental) was his style of writing. It was in some ways, as if the story was written in some other language, and then translated into English. It was a way of expressing oneself. As if I were to say, ‘This book, is not what I would choose to drink between meals,’ when what was meant was, ‘this book is not my cup of tea.’ See what I mean? ‘Not my cup of tea,’ has nothing to do with beverages or meals. It is an expression that means, ‘it’s okay, but it’s not for me.’ This is not to say that the book was disappointing. Not at all. It’s intriguing, optimistic and unusual. A good book.