The Chronocar, Steve Bellinger

The Chronocar, Steve Bellinger

The Chronocar

Bored students will get into trouble. Always. In this case, Tony, a gifted young engineering student, has stumbled across an obscure article dating to the early 1900s, discussing how to build a vehicle to move through time – and has built a successful prototype. Determined to meet the genius whose idea it originally was, Tony sets his first journey through time to the time and address of Dr. Johnson. However, his arrival sparks a brutal race riot, and in his efforts to fix the fallout caused by his presence, Tony finds himself more and more embroiled…

Steve Bellinger’s The Chronocar is a striking story, based on the well-loved sci-fi theme of time travel, and the paradoxes that it spawns. The threads of race and survival woven into the plot add depth, not to mention food for thought, and reading gives the feeling of strands of causality twisting and parting at every turn, while the characters meshed in the web live and die with them. This book snared my interest early on, and held it right through to the end, making it a highly satisfying read with a very nice twist in the finale. Certainly something I would recommend to any sci-fi enthusiasts.

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Between Two Worlds, Christy Santo

Between Two Worlds, Christy Santo

Between Two Worlds

Between Two Worlds is a fantasy story, following the experiences of a woman whose concussion turns into a coma of several months’ duration. It offers an interesting perspective of a combination of the protagonist’s real life experiences of her coma and the events around her, observed as through from an out of body perspective, interspersed with the experiences of another older woman from her hometown.

While the idea was interesting, I experienced some challenges with the read. The book is written in a first person, present tense style that, as a reader, always makes me wince. Some of that is the jerkiness that it gives a book; I find it impacts the smoothness of the writing and keeps pulling my attention back to the writing rather than allowing it remain on the story. That’s a personal perspective.

From a more technical side, the level of description of trivia in the story often overwhelmed the events, and dulled the emotional impact that the scenes may have been intended to convey. There were also a number of punctuation issues that periodically forced me to stop and re-read to ensure I had the passage correctly, and combined with the rest, meant that the story didn’t really draw me in and hold my interest as I read.

Overall, I think that the basic idea was strong, but the book itself would benefit enormously from a strong developmental edit or critique.

Armageddon and the 4th Timeline, Don Mardak

Armageddon and the 4th Timeline, Don Mardak

Armageddon and the 4th Timeline

Don Mardak’s Armageddon and the 4th Timeline is the story of Eric, an enlightened American spiritual healer.  Following his childhood meeting with a Tibetan priest named Shimahn, Eric had never expected to hear from the old man again, but an unexpected, urgent message sends both Eric and his wife Kathy to an isolated area of Tibet to meet with Shimahn and his acolytes – and finally to receive the revelation that Eric is about to be catapulted into the front lines of a war for the collective human soul; a war that, if he loses, will precipitate World War 3.

Armageddon and the 4th Timeline offers an interesting take on several concepts ranging from time travel to reincarnation. While the role of the wife as the temperamental, supporting character, and the rather sweeping assumption that all Muslims either are radical or at least are at high risk of radicalisation may grate on some readers, the basic ideas the book is plotted around are thought-provoking, and the inset cameos of the world’s intelligence agencies gearing up to meet a massive terrorist threat are well done and weave neatly into the backdrop of the main storyline to build the tension. This book will appeal to thriller and fantasy readers alike, and keep you thinking long after you turn the last page.