Tag Archives: scifi

Review of “Nexilexicon” – Keith Anthony Baird

NOTE: A story which incorporates similar themes to major motion pictures such as these – JURASSIC PARK, ALIENS, ALIEN RESURRECTION, STARGATE, THE LOST CITY OF Z.

From the sworn oath of an ancient curse a cult rises. She is the ocean vast, its deadly rake, and primal power. Her first ones commune from across the great divide and make their new hive in the emptiness of men. A secret project, born from the ambitions of a young nobleman, transcends the passage of time and reaches through the veil of life and death for her reawakening. Deep beneath a mountain, inside a secure facility at the heart of a covert black op called Nexilexicon, a team of scientists, the military and the CIA are about to punch a hole through to another dimension. What could possibly go wrong?

What begins in the wilds of the Amazon jungle in 1847 culminates in a threat to mankind’s very existence.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)


This story takes part in different time periods, so I’ve broken up my review into sections to discuss each area. Beware, there are spoilers! 

 

Chapters 1-8

The story begins with Sander van Straten embarking on a voyage. It’s not long before feelings of excitement turn to feelings of dread.

First, a mighty storm struck and they lost a young sailor.

Next, a swarm of insects descended on their ship and the crew had to hunker down below deck.

Then, there were the strange markings on the barrels and several stolen items.

Was the cook correct in saying this voyage was cursed? Even though I found Keith Anthony Baird (the author) long-winded at times, and the story seemed to teeter on the dull side, I was curious about the crew’s fate.

The crew’s trek through the Amazon jungle was quite adventurous, but I’d expect no less. They crossed paths with many exotic creatures, came face to face with a spider the size of a man’s head, and were ambushed by the natives. I wished they’d stayed in the jungle longer. I was thoroughly enjoying their time there, even though they weren’t at the least.

When they went back on the Eva, trouble again struck hard and fast. Rhames overtook their ship, and Eva’s crew members were held captive for two weeks, starved before released onto a small island. No drinkable water, no food, nothing but the clothes on their backs. The men turned into savages. They ate one of their own, had to if they wanted to survive. Sander couldn’t allow himself to partake of human flesh. I’m not sure I could’ve either.

 Life on the sea was hard, but life on land was no picnic either.

 

Chapters 9 -11

We jump forward in time to 1964. For over a century, Eva’s treasure has been lost to the sea but no longer. Wreck hunters have found the bounty and, with it, the curse that accompanies it. These chapters were laced with mystery, intrigue, suspense, death, and left me wondering what the hell was going on.

 

Chapter 12

It’s 1973, and an international team has been in the Al-Hajar Mountains for five weeks. Five weeks before the discovery of a chamber’s entrance. What they did find there is an archaeologist’s wet dream: mummified creatures, crystals, and a civilization that thrived and appeared highly evolved and intelligent. Unfortunately, their good fortune didn’t last long. Nobody’s luck remains good for long in this story.

 

Chapters 13 – 15

2012 – Project Nexilexicon was underway, and things were finally getting really good. Using DNA discovered at a dig site 40 years ago, scientists have reanimated/resurrected the creature Sander van Straten saw during his time in the Amazon jungle. The animals had six limbs, around 650 pounds, and had a presumed bite force that would resemble a crocodile’s.

I knew these creatures would escape their enclosure, but I didn’t realize how they would. They were extremely organized and intelligent in their escape. I won’t go into detail, but you’ll be amazed by what these creatures could and did accomplish.

Humans versus beasts… I knew it would be a bloodbath, and I was right. Keith Anthony Baird had the creatures biting heads off and separating limbs from bodies. Soldiers did everything to stop them, even sacrificing themselves for the civilians.

This set of chapters were my favorite out of the entire book. I actually could’ve used more action like this. In my opinion, I would’ve edited out much of the beginning time spent in 1847 and devoted more paragraphs to Project Nexilexicon. What the scientists and government were doing underneath a Nevada mountain range was the only reason why my score became a solid three stars.

 

Overall Impression 

The first eight chapters were mostly bland. Chapters 9-11 were okay. Chapter twelve had great potential but fell flat overall. However, Chapter 13-15 had me on the edge of my seat! I also enjoyed the epilogue because Keith ended with a nice twist. It’ll make you wonder what’s going to happen next for Project Nexilexicon.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤

 

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Keith Anthony Baird lives in rural Cumbria, England, with his partner Ann, a mad spaniel, two cats and two goldfish. He’s also inherited two daughters and a grandson. He’s had a varied career, having been a journalist for ten years, and also a designer and a retail manager in his time. The Jesus Man is his first novel, written throughout 2016 and based on an idea he devised just under thirty years ago.

Inspired by such luminaries as H. P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, and H. G. Wells, his aim has been to deliver stories in a classic vein, but with a contemporary slant in both style and content. He aims to remain entirely independent, producing his works his own way, without interference from traditional publishing houses.

In his spare time, he and Ann indulge their shared love of the mountains by scaling the many peaks of the inspirational Lake District National Park.

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Author Showcase – Dave Jeffrey (A Quiet Apocalypse)

(Cover by Adrian Baldwin; original artwork by Roberto Segate)

 

The end is hear…

A mutant strain of meningitis has wiped out most of mankind. The few who have survived the fever are now deaf.

Bitter with loss and terrified to leave the city known as Cathedral, the inhabitants rely on The Samaritans, search teams sent out into the surrounding countryside. Their purpose, to hunt down and enslave the greatest commodity on Earth, an even smaller group of people immune to the virus, people who can still hear.

People like me.

My name is Chris.

This is my story.

 

“A Quiet Apocalypse is told from the perspective of ex-schoolteacher Chris, a hearing survivor. He has lost everything, including his freedom, and through his eyes we learn of what it is like to live as a slave in this terrible new world of fear and loss. I was keen to write a piece that preyed upon people’s traditional misconceptions of deafness as an illness, and the imposition of ‘hearing’ norms. It is a story that has poignancy in any understanding of the struggles of minority groups.” – Author, Dave Jeffery

 

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~ EXCERPT ~

We’re ten miles out when we come across the body. Until this point my first hours of freedom have been uneventful. The road we walk upon is the A38, the main tributary to Birmingham, which is currently twelve miles behind us, and now known as Cathedral.

The re-christening of Birmingham is based on the nature of its rebirth, though it has about as much to do with righteousness as Margaret Atwood’s Gilead. In the city’s cathedral the last survivors of MNG-U took consensus and decided to overwhelm the few hearing people amongst their number and place them under the yoke. Thus, the emasculation of the hearing began, but it also gave rise to something equality as sinister.

Social order at a price.

The body hanging from a nearby lamppost has been there some time. It bears the usual vestiges of retribution, hands tied together above a head covered by a hood of sackcloth, the legs and torso cocooned in swathes of fabric, bound together with electrical tape. The material is gouged in places where the crows have become too impatient to wait for the wrists to flay under the weight and allow gravity to do the rest. 

There is a wooden plaque about the effigy’s neck and the single word scrawled across it is both statement and crime. 

HARBRINGER!

I wink out and there is no longer a streetlight with a body hanging from it. Instead I am back in my classroom and standing by the media wall watching as a small boy sits at a desk as he robustly colours a circle with a bright, orange crayon on stark white card. Concentration has turned his face to stone, his mouth is an inclined hyphen, but the tip of his tongue emerges from the corner of his lips, a red strawberry that almost matches the colour of his hair.

Tim Muller has been in my class for over nine months and it is during this time that I have learned the intricacies of British Sign Language, or BSL to use the vernacular. I have managed Stage 2 and can pretty much communicate enough with the boy to be able to understand him without an interpreter, although there is always one present to make sure he is not disadvantaged in his learning. I’m destined to be his form tutor for another three years before he moves on, and during that time I will become fluent, with frequent visits to Deaf Club where I enjoy a pint and sign away the evenings as I become infused with Deaf Culture.

I wonder where Tim is now, and my heart feels heavy as I think of the effigies hanging from their lampposts, and those in trees leading up the Cathedral. Harbingers come in all shapes and sizes, all ages, but the mode of disposal is always the same. Retribution is as indiscriminate as the disease that turned mankind into monsters poisoned by hate.

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Dave Jeffery is author of 14 novels, two collections, and numerous short stories. His Necropolis Rising series and yeti adventure Frostbite have both featured on the Amazon #1 bestseller list. His YA work features critically acclaimed Beatrice Beecham supernatural mystery series and Finding Jericho, a contemporary mental health novel that was featured on the BBC Health and the Independent Schools Entrance Examination Board’s recommended reading lists.

Jeffery is a member of the Society of Authors, British Fantasy Society (where he is a regular book reviewer), and the Horror Writers Association. He is also a registered mental health professional with a BSc (Hons) in Mental Health Studies and a Master of Science Degree in Health Studies.

Jeffery is married with two children and lives in Worcestershire, UK.

Visit his WEBSITE for further information.

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Author Showcase – Max Wannow (Kill Tut)

Ancient Egyptians, aliens, Neanderthals. Kill Tut is a historical fiction sci-fi novel. For a secret government operation in the near future, a team of three is sent back in time to kidnap King Tutankhamun.

New York, New York: 2041. The American-Egyptian War continues as more Egyptian battalions invade the USA. With the purpose of bringing the war to an end, Operation Golden Ankh is a top-secret Delta Force mission that consists of sending a team of three back in time. Captain Jackson Martindale, Staff Sergeant Laiklyn Ladore, and CIA Officer Dana Villa have seven days to complete the mission in the Eighteenth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt. To successfully complete the mission, the three must coerce King Tutankhamun to travel with them to the future. Forcibly kidnapping the pharaoh would lead to a domino-like disruption in the architecture of time. The three are quick to discover the past deviates from what history books provide. The ancient people of Thebes, Egypt resort to panic when their city is invaded by Neanderthal warriors; but when humanoid aliens with skin made of a malleable gold arrive, the Ancient Egyptians welcome them with open arms.

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Dana asks Mayamenti, “The enemies you speak about in your worship, would that be the Neanderthals?”

“All enemies,” Mayamenti clarifies.

“Those Neanderthals, where did they come from?” Dana asks.

Mayamenti attempts an explanation, “We used to be the people of the world, before the Neanderthals. The Neanderthals wiped us out and destroyed civilization. Then, we come from them to become us to restore civilization.”

Mayamenti’s interpretation conflicts with what Dana’s husband explained about Neanderthals. The way Dana understands it is, Neanderthals and humans have a common ancestor from which they evolved separately. What also confuses Dana, is she understands the Neanderthal species became extinct 36,000 years before 1323 BC. Yet, here they are.

Mope adds, “The Neanderthals lack heru.” The neuromorphic implants in neither Dana nor Jackson’s brain translated the last word into English.

Jackson asks, “What is heru?”

Mope says, “Heru is the power within ourselves that fights our animal selves. To be human, we must have heru. Without heru, we would have chaos like uncivilized animals. It is at our core beliefs as Egyptians to find order through chaos.”

“Do you have any water?” Jackson asks.

“Jackson,” Dana scolds, “that was rude.” She speaks to Mope, “In Hatti, we also have our own form of heru. It is important for us to be civil.”

Jackson returns with, “I just have a headache, and I need water.”

Mayamenti responds, “We have cold beer.” The room is silent for a moment. Then Jackson decides to awkwardly laugh. “You want beer?”

“No water?” Jackson questions.

“Water is unclean,” Mayamenti tells him. “Beer will keep you healthy. Don’t be scared, there is no Turkish morphine in it.”

Jackson knows he needs hydration, “Sure, I’ll have a beer.”

“Come with me,” Mayamenti says. “You too, Dana. You deserve a tour.” Mayamenti takes Jackson and Dana out into the hallway. The walls are made from sun-dried brick. She shows them the bedchamber where their bed has a wood frame. The mattress is made of folded linen and the pillows are made of rock. Mayamenti shows them the bathroom, which has a mirror made of polished brass, a bathtub made of copper, and the toilet is a clay pot filled with sand with a limestone seat situated above. The baby’s nursery is located in the second bedchamber of the home. One of the walls is a painted image of the hippo goddess, Taweret, the protector of women in pregnancy. On the opposite wall is the dwarf god, Bes, the protector from evil. The baby sleeps in a bassinet made of sycamore wood. The kitchen is a shed in the backyard without a roof. In it is a clay oven where a servant bakes bread.

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Max Wannow is an independent absurdist novelist, who describes his work to be thought-provoking and discomforting. Simply put, Max Wannow is not for everybody. Aside from being an independent author, he currently lives in Wisconsin and works as an environmental geologist. 

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Author Showcase – Ernest Solar (Two Moons Rising)

When Lance Juddit looks up into the night sky, he sees two moons, but he’s learned not to mention it to other people. He also doesn’t mention the things he sees when he drops off to sleep—and he falls asleep all the time, everywhere. He doesn’t mention the place with the golden fields, the purple sun, the emerald sea. And he definitely doesn’t talk about the slender silver creatures that stalk this landscape and menace his fitful dreams, which aren’t dreams at all.

In the space between waking and dreaming, between this world and the next, between body and soul, the silver Mysts feed on human souls. For a thousand years, a select few seekers have found a way to fight and defeat the Mysts where they live and set free the souls they’ve trapped. But the seekers have all but disappeared and it is up to Lance to end the battle once and for all and liberate humankind from the Mysts.

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~~ Excerpt ~~

I write this for all who find their way here through God’s will. The terrain of this place is void of any resemblance of trees or bushes from our own. Therefore, this is foreign land to my eyes. Nevertheless, thy eyes still recognize the similarities of our world. The only vegetation recognizable to our kind is the golden stalks of grass that sway in a forceful wind that I have determined blows from the Northern Hemisphere. The calm and silent oceans in the Southern Hemisphere are an emerald green and the waves drift across the surface of the water in eerie silence. The barren terrain with the rolling hills of golden stalks link the mountains of the north to the seas in the south.

As far as I can tell, no living creature inhabits this land. Albeit, life does dwell in this land. Life I have never seen in my own land. Life different from my own appearance. Similar to us in structure. Different than life I have ever experienced in my years. They move and change in ways unbeknownst to my most vivid imagination. Be them demons I think not, for I feel their souls. I feel their souls in this land and recognize their souls among our kind, hidden in the corporal flesh of our family, friends, and neighbors. Hellions they are not, nonetheless life unknown to our kind filled with an intent to remove us.    

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Ernest Solar has been a writer, storyteller, and explorer of some kind for his entire life. He grew up devouring comic books, novels, any other type of books along with movies, which allowed him to explore a multitude of universes packed with mystery and adventure. A professor at Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland, he lives with his family in Virginia.

 

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Review of “The Night House” – J. C. McKenzie

What would you pay for your freedom?

Caught by a powerful lord from the alternate realm of Arkavia, Taya’s offered the chance to avenge the dead, save her home world, and win her freedom.

Her days of stealing supplies and surviving among the remnants of Earth are over, but can she afford the price of Lord Thane’s deal?

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Thane clenched his jaw, took two giant steps forward and bent to catch her by the middle. When he straightened, he threw her over his shoulder. His gauntlet armoured fingers dug into her thighs. His swords’ hilts stared back at her, tempting and teasing. Her fingers itched to wrap around the smooth leather and yank one from its sheath.

If you’re going down, go down fighting, her dad’s life motto played in her memory.

If only her hands weren’t bound. Instead, she flopped uselessly as Thane strode toward the gate. His shoulder dug into her stomach and her face smacked against the cold metal back plate of his black armour. She had a perfect view of his ass. Fitting, since he acted like one.

What did she expect? Preferential treatment for a captive? How was she any different than any of the other slaves brought through this portal?

Thane walked unhindered through the thick air. The blue haze cleared. The buzzing stopped.

She wasn’t dead.

Thane pulled her down from his shoulder and set her on her feet in the snow in front of him. Over his shoulder, the other men walked through the gate leading the horses.

Cool air brushed her skin. The winter breeze contained exotic scents of Arkavia, smelling of pine, but different, more floral.

Thane watched her expectantly.

“I may have overreacted.”

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

In The Night House, death surrounded Taya for much of the story. At the start of this book, Taya lost her friends to a magical blue wave. This blue wave turned many people to ash and made all electronics useless. It was almost the perfect weapon against our civilization.

Taya, now she wielded a weapon that I thought was absolutely brilliant. She stumbled upon two swords that had flashes of blue and white light, which travelled in bolts of lightning from the pommel to tip of blade. Not just anyone could harness its power but Taya could. Whether she was swinging a sword, staff, or knife, Taya impressed me with her fighting skills and her quick thinking. She wasn’t a woman anyone should underestimate.

Thane, from the House of Jericho, was a multi-layered character: fierce, loyal, a great leader and loving. He was likable and so were the soldiers that followed his commands.

I think it’s worth noting, J. C. McKenzie wrote tremendous battle scenes and in these scenes we were able to see the camaraderie between the soldiers. We saw teammates become family, foes became friends, and unbreakable bonds form between many key characters. 

Through J. C. McKenzie’s gift of storytelling, readers will fall in love with Taya and Thane as they defy all odds and making their coupling work. Together, they are unstoppable.

 

I highly recommend reading this book. 

 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤1/2

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View More: http://photos.pass.us/headshot2J.C. McKenzie is a book-loving, gumboot-wearing, unapologetic science geek. She’s the author of the Carus Series, an urban fantasy five-book saga published by the Wild Rose Press. Born and raised on the West Coast, J. C. sets the majority of her books in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance with sassy heroines and brutish, alpha-type men.

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