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THE QUEST FOR THE TRUTH BEGINS - epic fantasy

— feeling amazing

 

 

THE QUEST: Book two of Illusional Reality 
Karina Kantas
Series: Illusional Reality (Book 2)
Paperback: 239 pages
Publisher: Asteri Press (December 31, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1912996049
ISBN-13: 978-1912996049
 
 
Reviewed by Dr. Wesley Britton

While it first appeared in 2016, it was only last fall when I read Illusional Reality, volume one of Karina Kantas’s then in progress “duology.” Now, volume two, The Quest, is here and I’m more on target in terms of timing.

First, I freely admit I liked The Quest much more than its predecessor. It carries on the story of Princess Thya of the magical land called Tsinia. Like book one, the story opens with the princess living on our earth using the name Haty. This time around, she knows prophecy says her people will reach out for her again, asking her to return to their realm as their defender and protector.  Now, Thya thinks her main sacrifice may be leaving Alex, her son back on earth and taking the reluctant throne of her people without him.

After this setup, the story is very different from the plot of Illusional Reality. Thya remains a stubborn, willful, strong-minded—often to the extreme—heroine who sets out with a small company of companions to take on the dark forces of evil. Sound a bit like Tolkein’s Ring series? Part of their journey takes the party through a harsh desert populated by sandworms. Sound a bit like Frank Herbert’s Arrakis? Well, only for a few passages. 

Thya and her companions encounter a series of vividly described obstacles, monsters, alien species, and Thya’s strange, double-edged powers that seem to wax and wane as she tries to control a dark side to them. In short, there’s a lot going on in the journey to save Thya’s people, a populace currently living in caves after being chased from their homes while their Princess lived peacefully in England.

Fortunately, readers don’t need to have read Illusional Reality to jump into and fully understand what’s going on in The Quest. In the first chapters of the fast-paced yarn, Kantas fully lays out what happened in her first book for new readers. More fantasy than sci-fi—by miles—The Quest should appeal to readers who like their settings and characters vividly described with well-developed flaws and motivations. 

Readers who like strong female protagonist should especially like meeting the complex and often conflicted Princess Thya. In addition, The Quest seems a perfect YA novel as I often found myself thinking back to the L. Sprague De Camp and Andre Norton adventures I enjoyed when I was YA myself.
Nothing profound here, nothing preachy. Lots of the fantasy tropes young readers enjoy these days with a nice layer of romance to boot.


This review first appeared at BookPleasures.com on Jan. 12, 2019:
https://waa.ai/ox0X


Strange Stars

 

 

 

  

 

Strange Stars: David Bowie, Pop Music, and the Decade Sci-Fi Exploded

Jason Heller

Hardcover: 272 pages

Publisher: Melville House; First Edition edition (June 5, 2018)

ISBN-10: 1612196977

ISBN-13: 978-1612196978

https://www.amazon.com/Strange-Stars-Decade-Sci-Fi-Exploded/dp/1612196977?source=ps-sl-shoppingads-lpcontext&psc=1

By: Dr. Wesley Britton

 

 

When I read a blurb describing Strange Stars, my first reaction was that Jason Heller had beaten me to the punch.  I had long thought the connections between sci-fi flavored rock music and sci-fi films and books in the 1970s would make for an interesting critical analysis. I was right, except Heller was a much better critic to pull all the strings together than I would have been. By miles and miles.

The book’s title is a tad misleading if you assume David Bowie will be an important thread in the story. es, Heller bookends the decade with Bowie’s 1971 “Space Oddity” and its 1980 follow-up, “Ashes to Ashes.” Sure, Ziggy Stardust and The Man Who Fell to Earth aren’t neglected. And the book ends with Bowie’s 2018 death and the release of Black Star.

 

But Heller probes a rich well of evidence demonstrating that the ‘70s was the decade when sci-fi began to be taken seriously in popular culture, its impact ignited by two films by Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange. The Planet of the Apes also contributed to a growing interest in sci-fi and the phenomena of Star Trek was just beginning its widening cult status. 

 

Sci-fi authors cited by many musicians as influences included Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, William Burroughs, Philip Dick, and Frank Herbert, among many, many others. To greater and lesser degrees, these writers influenced popular rock musicians like Paul Kantner’s Jefferson Starship (“Blows Against the Empire,”) David Crosby and The Byrds (“Mr. Spaceman,”) Elton John (“Rocket Man”), Black Sabbath (Iron Man”), and the psychedelic Pink Floyd. At the same time, futuristic electronic sounds and cover art helped define Progressive Rock groups like yes and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer (“Tarkus.”)

 

Heller also explores cult favorites including the French Magma, Germany’s Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream, Gary Neuman, Devo, as well as the often forgotten Hawkwind, Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come, and the avant-garde jazz figure Sun Ra. And these are but the best known of the musical performers and groups Heller lists and describes in minute detail leaving no rare single or obscure album unturned.

 

Along the way, Heller discusses sci-fi lyrics, the burgeoning use of futuristic synth-sounds, new sub-genres like sci-fi-funk and Kraut-rock, concert events like 1979’s Futurama and the impact of films like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Star Wars and Star Trek. Occasionally he layers in historical events that piqued public interest in space, futuristic technology, and dystopian predictions like the disappointing passing of Comet Kohoutek and the crash of Star Lab.

In his “Acknowledgements,” Heller credits one reader with keeping him from publishing an encyclopedia instead of a story. There are many, many passages where readers could be forgiven for feeling like they’re following long, encyclopedic entries, especially when Heller recites band name after band name, album title after album title.    Such passages might inspire skimming along and there’s nothing wrong with that.  Strange Stars can serve as a reference volume as well as an analysis of an amorphous genre, or at least a many-tentacled realm of popular culture. Strange Stars belongs in pretty much every public library and on the private shelves of both sci-fi and rock lovers. 

 

This review was first published at BookPleasures.com on Dec. 28, 2018:

https://waa.ai/ouMU

 

 

 

 

Alpha Tales 2044: The Beta-Earth Chronicles

Wesley Britton

Print Length: 173 pages

Publisher: Alien Vision (December 9, 2018)

Publication Date: December 9, 2018

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC

ASIN: B07KJBSQG5

https://www.amazon.com/Alpha-Tales-2044-Beta-Earth-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B07KJBSQG5

 

Reviewed by: Bobbi Chertok

 

5.0 out of 5 stars INTELLIGENT, HUMOROUS and EXCITING. BRAVO!

December 23, 2018

 

Dr. Wesley Britton's "Alpha Tales 2044: A Beta-Earth Chronicles Collection" gives new meaning to the word prequel. His characters spring back to life when their unique physical descriptions are revealed and their deeds and goals come into focus.
Britton visits a fantasy world which shares the same problems as those on Earth. As they seek to cure a devastating virus, we aim to cure cancer. Years into climate change and confronting evil, Dr. Britton's heroes and heroines seek out ways to deal with the very same problems we have on Earth today. Intelligent, humorous and exciting. Bravo! 

 

Alpha Tales 2044 ***** 5 star review

Copied with permission from the reviewer.

 

A wonderful short story collection that will take you to unimagined places, each of them different, but all tied together by the Beta-Earth saga.

 

The first of the stories is taken right out of the Beta-Earth Chronicles; it stars one of my favorite characters, Sasperia. She and the Supreme Head of the Munchen Collective (love these titles!) save the world. And they do it with lots of adventure and excitement. And a bit of sadness.

 

Next is “The Fates of Evil Men”; this story takes us back to Alpha Earth – our earth – in a sort of dystopian virus plagued era. It is also full of twists and turns, and very unlike any other dystopian sort of story I’ve ever read. An excellent story with a surprising twist in the end, but still, not my favorite of this collection.

 

The next group of stories fill in some history of what happened to the earth, and some of the latest generation of the Renbourn’s trials and adventures. Followed by “Murder in the Canyon,” further fleshing out the family on this latter day earth. More trials for the family, and decisions made to, again, move on. Leading to “Sasquatch.” Which, in this version of Earth’s future, really exists. This is my favorite story of the whole collection.

 

I recommend anyone who likes science fiction, adventure, or even some romance, to try this collection – it is well written and fun to read!

 

 

 

 

ALPHA TALES 2044

Amazon Ebook: Alpha Tales 2044 - http://bit.ly/AT2044
Paperback: http://bit.ly/LUAT2044
Kobo, iBooks, B&NL http://bit.ly/B2RAT2044


Step out of reality and into an Illusion

— feeling amazing

 

 

 

 

Illusional Reality

Karina Kantas

Paperback: 150 pages

Publisher: lulu.com (March 8, 2016)

ISBN-10: 1326583662

ISBN-13: 978-1326583668

https://www.amazon.com/Illusional-Reality-Karina-Kantas/dp/1326583662

 

Reading the opening pages of this fantasy/ romance, I had the sense I was reading a modern retelling of an ancient myth, fairy tale, or legend. Perhaps it was my overactive imagination, but some of the story’s early elements sounded familiar.

 

For example, the book opens when an ordinary marketing executive named Becky, who at least thinks she is an ordinary human, is rescued from an attack in a dark alley by an “alien” named Salco. Unhappily, in her opinion, she is transported to a different realm where she discovers she is really Princess Thya of Tsinia, a city of light-hearted (mostly) tree-top dwellers. She had been hidden away on earth until she is expected to fulfill her prophesized role as a wife to establish an alliance with the powerful city called Senx. Much to her distaste, she is apparently obligated to wed Kovon, the son of the proverbial dark lord, Darthorn. Darthorn is no more fond of the wedding idea than Thya,  preferring the conquest option which he is certain he would win.

 

Learning this marriage is intended to preserve and save the magical realm on the brink of destruction, Thya spends many hours being tutored about a world she doesn’t know. Thya slowly learns about her true identity including the undesirable prophecy and the fact she has supernatural powers she doesn’t know how to use or control. Along the way, she falls in love with one of her teachers who is himself obligated to marry another.

 

After this set-up, readers experience a series of possible paths for Thya to explore and deal with as we meet a growing set of sometimes duplicitous mentors and advisors for the Princess. I admit, my interest kicked in when Thya began to assert her will and resist prophecy, no matter what her court advisors tell her what she must do. From this point forward, I felt I was reading a completely original story based on, well, whatever Karina Kandas cooked up for her heroine and her changed circumstances in this first volume of a coming duology. Thankfully, the magical ride keeps building up speed until we get to the final third of the book where everything intensifies from the psychic battles to the emotional hits to Thya and her chosen lover, Alkazer.

 

A major stroke of creativity in this novel is the lofty dialect and diction Kantas has most of her characters using. I’ve read other reviews where some readers were put off or challenged by this  I don’t see the problem.  Every sentence was perfectly clear to me. How tough is it to recognize “with certainty” means “Yes”? In addition, the tone used by most of these characters seemed perfectly spot on for high officials and palace courtesans, not to mention black-hearted warlords.

 

This book can fairly be classified as YA as there are moral lessons being taught, mainly about the importance of selflessness and putting community above yourself. So Illusional Reality is the sort of book that should be welcome under your Christmas tree, especially for those reluctant younger readers for whom this adventure should be quite inviting. Why not give them a sexy female Harry Potter with a good figure?  It shouldn’t be too long before the sequel, The Quest, will belatedly debut in 2019.

 

 

Wesley Britton's New Release Has Arrived!

 

 

 

 

Alpha Tales 2044, opens on Beta-Earth when two genetically-enhanced mutants are forced to recover a stolen secret, the cure to the ancient Plague-With-No-Name that defined a planet for millennia.
Then we jump across the multi-verse to our earth, Alpha-Earth, where police Captain Mary Carpenter infiltrates a gang of White Supremacists who want to purify Texas after decades of climate change and weaponized plagues.

Still on Alpha, we leap ahead in time to 40 years in the future where Mary Carpenter joins up with four aliens, two from Beta-Earth, two from Serapin-Earth. All four share the same father, The Blind Alien from Alpha-Earth. They’ve traveled across the multi-verse to tell us about their worlds.

But Alphans, scarred by the devastations to our world, are unhappy about learning about very different cultures from anything we’ve ever known and especially hearing about multiple deities. So the alien band are forced to go on the run and take sanctuary in a First Nation domed city in British Columbia.

But their sanctuary doesn’t last long. Forced to travel further into the Canadian wilderness, the family encounters a pair of Sasquatch who change everything for them. They learn about the many definitions of what it means to be human.

Alpha Tales 2044, is a collection of stories that are part sci-fi, part murder mysteries, part horror, and part social commentary. But completely full of the unexpected, surprises, and tales, unlike anything you’ve experienced before.

 

Special price of $0.99 

http://bit.ly/B2RAT2044

 

Where to find Wesley online.

Website: https://drwesleybritton.com/books/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BetaEarthChronicles/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wesley_britton

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Wesley-Britton/e/B001HD455U

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/295635.Wesley_Britton

Mailing list sign up: http://eepurl.com/dwvfQr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXCERPT: From Last Night Of The Collective from Alpha Tales 2044


I vividly remember the afternoon when Jrin Rol, the second-in-command of our security unit, and I stepped onto the ground floor of the Hotel Domino in the new city called Monte Carlo. The hotel was an entertainment center named after yet another Alpha game Malcolm Renbourn had brought to our planet. It should have been named Hotel Backgammon for all the pointed spikes of alternating colors on the floors and walls.

 

On this day, I was listening to Jrin's wistful hopes for an extended leave from service so she could deepen her studies in linguistic morphologies, geographic spatial patterns, and other analytical investigative techniques that would make her far more than a skilled expert in stealth and counter-espionage operations. I was becoming more and more impressed with what I heard as we walked into the dining hall.

 

Then, my blood chilled. In one moment, I felt as if I'd drank a bath shell-sized cocktail of adrenaline and dread. Sitting alone at a table in the corner was First Helprim Kiem Holenris from ital, the supreme head of the Munchen Collective. The last I'd seen of this seeming old crone had been in my offices in Bercumel. On that day, Holendris had let me know my life was on the line if I continued my then-pointless, personal war with my bond-family. For, like her, my genetically-enhanced mutations had come at a cost. The little pills the Collective now provided me slowed the metabolic rushing of time that aged such as us much faster than our years. If I wanted to live a healthy and beautiful life and for a good long time, I needed the pills only the Collective could provide me.

 

Holendris looked like a woman who'd seen four generations of descendants from her womb. But she was merely the age of my own mother. Like me, her appearance concealed a body of extraordinary gifts. Unlike me, she had started her pill regimen much later in her life than I had, hence her aged face and deceptively marked skin. On this day, while her lips were twisted in an almost skullish smile, her eyes sent a clear message to me across the wide hall of tables and happy noises.

 

"Child," they wordlessly told me, "bring your sun-drenched bronze skin and bright, blonde hair over here to me. You must come to me now. A matter of dire importance awaits you. Awaits us."

 

I looked to Jrin, who understood my own silent signal. We slowly made our way to the Helprim's round, polished white table where Kiem studied our movements with practiced eyes. She nodded as we came close and indicated two chairs.

 

"Sit, little kitty," she cooed. "Sit, Jrin Rol of the Mask-Painters."

 

Wordlessly, we took our places as serving hands quickly brought us trays of beverages. Kiem waited until the hands departed and took a sip of her own red pravine, then said softly, "Thank you for your quick compliance, as what I am here to discuss requires some delicacy."

 

Download the ebook

Buy the paperback

 

 

Tom Petty and Me: My Rock ‘n Roll Adventures with Tom Petty

John Scott

Publisher: Chickasaw Buddy Publishing, INC. (2018)

ISBN-10: 069209119X

ISBN-13: 978-0692091197

https://www.amazon.com/Tom-Petty-Me-Jon-Scott/dp/069209119X

 

Reviewed by :Dr. Wesley Britton

 

“Six weeks before our record was going to be dropped from ABC Records, Jon Scott went to radio stations with a vengeance and got our record played and on the charts. Because of that, we are forever grateful to him.”

 

-Tom Petty (The Hollywood Bowl, September 25, 2017, Petty’s last concert performance)

 

It’s no trade secret that promo man John Scott was very instrumental in igniting the career of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers when no one else in the music business believed in them.

 

As chronicled in Scott’s very personal insider’s tour of the music industry, in 1973 he moved from behind a Memphis radio station microphone to work for MCA Records as a Southern-based promo man. Then, he was promoted to head of national album promotion and worked and traveled with bands and artists like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Elton John, the Who, Olivia Newton-John, Keith Moon, Roger Daltrey and Golden Earring.

 

In 1977, Scott moved over to ABC Records with the same job title. It’s here where his story really gets interesting as Scott’s 40-year association with Tom Petty begins after a series of coincidences and serendipitous events. That was when Scott put his radio and promo experience to work as he threw all his energy behind Petty and his music.

 

So the memoir is part a detailed review of what a promo man does, revealing why they’re an indispensable part of an artist’s success. In part, the book is about the professional collaboration between Petty and Scott as well as a fond series of reminiscences and anecdotes of their long friendship. That includes behind-the-scenes stories in the recording studio, song composition, and touring.

 

So this is a book not just for Tom Petty fans who won’t want to miss this one, but for those who’d like a peek into the promotions side of the music industry, especially from the 1970s onward. Happily, Scott writes with a personable, engaging style any reader can enjoy. On top of that, we also get an informative foreword by John Mellencamp, another musician who benefited from Scott’s work.

 

If you’re interested in a signed copy of the book by John Scott, here’s how to get one:

 

https://tompettyandme.com/

 

This review first appeared at BookPleasures.com on Nov. 29, 2018:

https://waa.ai/oaFb

 

 

 

WIN!
WIN!

 

 

Order your copy of Alpha Tales 2044 and you could win BEC merchandise. Download now for only 99c, then message me with POP.

Download here.

 

Announcing the release of Alpha Tales 2044

— feeling amazing

 

 

Alien Vision is proud to present Alpha Tales 2044 - a unique collection of stories and sketches from The Beta-Earth Chronicles.

 

 

 

Alpha Tales 2044, opens on Beta-Earth when two genetically-enhanced mutants are forced to recover a stolen secret, the cure to the ancient Plague-With-No-Name that defined a planet for millennia.
Then we jump across the multi-verse to our earth, Alpha-Earth, where police Captain Mary Carpenter infiltrates a gang of White Supremacists who want to purify Texas after decades of climate change and weaponized plagues.

Still on Alpha, we leap ahead in time to 40 years in the future where Mary Carpenter joins up with four aliens, two from Beta-Earth, two from Serapin-Earth. All four share the same father, The Blind Alien from Alpha-Earth. They’ve traveled across the multi-verse to tell us about their worlds.

But Alphans, scarred by the devastations to our world, are unhappy about learning about very different cultures from anything we’ve ever known and especially hearing about multiple deities. So the alien band are forced to go on the run and take sanctuary in a First Nation domed city in British Columbia.

But their sanctuary doesn’t last long. Forced to travel further into the Canadian wilderness, the family encounters a pair of Sasquatch who change everything for them. They learn about the many definitions of what it means to be human.

Alpha Tales 2044, is a collection of stories that are part sci-fi, part murder mysteries, part horror, and part social commentary. But completely full of the unexpected, surprises, and tales, unlike anything you’ve experienced before.

 

Pre-order now at the special price of $0.99 - 99p

 

 

 

 

Take 20% Off Any Script from the Crypt

 

Can your heart stand the shocking truth behind your favorite horror/sci-fi films? The Scripts from the Crypt series peals back the veil to give readers heretofore untold behind-the-scenes stories. Marvel at the detailed production histories of films like Dracula's Daughter, The Hideous Sun Demon, Bride of the Gorilla and more.

Take 20% off any Script from the Crypt title with the discount code SFTC20 at checkout until midnight on Halloween -- 12:00 AM E.T. Wednesday October 31, 2018.

 

How to order:

http://bearmanormedia.com/index.php?route=product/search&search=from%20the%20crypt

 

 

Dr. Wesley Britton,

Author, The Beta Earth Chronicles

Reviewer, BookPleasures.com

 

 

More Halloween treats

— feeling ghost

 

 

 

Here's another chance to pick up some Halloween treats.
(If you dare)
The Fates Of Evil Men is among the goodies.

 

https://claims.prolificworks.com/gg/K00n05603m1mX6tEdkzX

 

 




Halloween Treat

 

 

 


As well as picking up your copy of THE FATES OF EVIL MEN, you can grab more chilling and horrifying books all for free.

 

 

 

 

 

 






Blog Feature

 

The Blind Alien was featured on Tom Fallwell's blog, this week.

Take a look.

https://tomfallwell.com/the-blind-alien-by-wesley-britton/

Trump!



Fear: Trump in the White House

Bob Woodward

Hardcover:448 pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 2nd edition (September 11, 2018)

ISBN-10:1501175513

ISBN-13:978-1501175510

https://www.amazon.com/Fear-Trump-White-Bob-Woodward/dp/1501175513

 

 

Reviewed by Dr. Wesley Britton

 

I’m pretty sure this was the first time I ever picked up a new book anticipating a depressing reading experience.

 

That’s because, like many Americans, I watched the election results of Nov. 9, 2016 with amazement and horror.  I saw my country go insane.  In the months and years since Trump’s inauguration, I’ve seen a narcissist, often paranoid president looking at the world through Trump-colored glasses. Policy wise, it’s been clear he has protectionist, populist, and nationalist views. It’s been clear he operates on the fly, often responding emotionally to any perceived threats or attacks. He’ll lie at the drop of a hat.

 

  And all of this has been publicly chronicled on a daily basis since the presidential campaign.  So Bob Woodward’s controversial new book doesn’t offer many surprises, other than the minutiae of who said what to whom and when.  For me, I occasionally felt a glimmer of hope when I realized Trump has had some clear-headed advisors who’ve butted heads with more right-wing ideologues, although usually for relatively brief periods.

 

The greatest surprise for me was reading claims that some of these more clear-minded advisors found all manner of tricks to keep Trump from signing potentially dangerous documents, notably curtailing long alliances with countries like South Korea. True, as others have noted, this means unelected members of Trump’s inner circle have subverted the will of our elected president.  I admit, I’m glad they did.  I realize this places me inside a serious moral conundrum, but I’m too far away from any offices of power for my thoughts to matter.  

 

Woodward’s uncited sources provide great specificity to all the conversations and actions the interviewees shared with Woodward, although not every issue of the Trump presidency was covered. There’s no discussion, for example, of the president’s ban on Muslim travelers to the U.S. But, without question, the most controversial aspect to the book is the lack of attribution to the “anonymous sources.” As Woodward has been assuring us in interviews the past few weeks, all his notes, memos, diaries, and tapes will ultimately be open to public scrutiny when he donates them all to a library archive.

 

Till then, I think Bob Woodward has built up enough of a record that give him serious credibility and trust.  Also, the book is a straight-forward bare-bones narrative of information with little obvious editorial postulating, although it’s clear who he thinks are the heroes and who are the villains.

 

My one hope is that Trump supporters will take the time to read this and not respond like the Morgan County Library in West Virginia which has refused to shelf the book. On what grounds? No one is saying.

 

This review first appeared at BookPleasures.com on Sept. 18, 2018 at BookPleasures.com:

https://waa.ai/aiwZ

Vollmer remains a master

 

 

The Blockade Runners

Peter Vollmer

Print Length: 379 pages

Publisher: Endeavour Media (August 17, 2018)

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC

ASIN: B07G4FX1Y2

https://www.amazon.com/Blockade-Runners-Peter-Vollmer-ebook/dp/B07G4FX1Y2

 

 

Reviewed by Dr. Wesley Britton

 

My first paragraph here is almost word-for-word  how I opened my 2017 review of Peter Vollmer’s A Question of Allegiance:

 

I may not have been the very first one, but I was certainly among the earliest reviewers of the novels of South African writer Peter Borchard a.k.a. Peter Vollmer.  My reviews began with 2011’s Relentless Pursuit, continued with 2012’s Diamonds Are But Stone, and 2015’s Left For Dead. Of special interest was his 2015 Per Fine Ounce, a continuation novel featuring a character named Geoffrey Peace created by fellow South African novelist Geoffrey Jenkins, a writer with notable connections with Ian Fleming.

 

Once again, I’m happy to report Vollmer remains a master in his descriptions of international settings and very developed characters. He’s able to vividly capture historical times and places; in the case of The Blockade Runners, his focus is on Rhodesia in 1965 when the U.N. has imposed an embargo on the country to put pressure on Prime Minister Ian Smith to accept majority rule and not continue his minority white government.

 

The main character of the novel is rugged, womanizing South African banker David Tuck. Despite his military background, he’s known for his accounting skills, especially with international accounts. His South African bank, in its Rhodesian offices, recruits him to be the paymaster for smugglers wanting to bring in oil, weapons, and helicopters illegally into Rhodesia. He has no idea what he’s getting into, to put it mildly.

 

Soon, he’s paired with the alluring Gisela Mentz, a former East German operative for the Stasi. Together, blending Gisela’s undercover training and Tuck’s quick reflexes and resourcefulness, they travel to Europe and the Middle East to arrange for the secret transfers of funds to smugglers willing to run the U.N. embargo. While France and Germany are willing to look the other way, Britain has a very different agenda. MI6 goes so far as to send out assassins to take out Tuck and Mentz as covertly as possible.

 

So Tuck and Mentz, quickly romantically involved, are in constant danger and have a series of near-misses and escapes.  Adding to the danger, Mentz has inherited a Rhodesian farm targeted by black revolutionaries who want to chase whites out of their country. So, the pair are literally under the gun both when operating around the globe and at home as well.

 

While The Blockade Runners may not be a pure spy vs. spy espionage thriller,  it has all the tropes of such novels.There are numerous chase scenes, deadly fights in exotic locations, clever twists from David Tuck’s fertile mind, generous sex scenes, and complex international chess moves.  In short, The Blockade Runners should appeal to readers of Fleming, Graham Greene, Eric Ambler, and all the other old-fashioned thriller writers versed in international intrigue. Vollmer has gone down this road before—I’m delighted to see he’s at it again. I also appreciate the irony—from beginning to end, readers will be rooting for the bad guys. After all, blockade runners are the criminals.

 

Wes Britton’s review of A Question of Allegiance first appeared at BookPleasures.com on Sept. 23, 2017 at:

http://dpli.ir/LtmtBi

 

Wes Britton’s 2011 review of Relentless Pursuit was posted at:

http://www.bookpleasures.com/websitepublisher/articles/3929/1/Relentless-Pursuit-Reviewed-By-Dr-Wesley-Britton-of-Bookpleasurescom/Page1.html

 

Wes Britton’s 2012 review of Diamonds Are But Stone is up at:

http://www.bookpleasures.com/websitepublisher/articles/4482/1/Diamonds-Are-But-Stone-Reviewed-By-Dr-Wesley-Britton-of-Bookpleasurescom/Page1.html

 

Wes Britton’s 2015 review of Left for Dead is up at:

http://www.bookpleasures.com/websitepublisher/articles/7898/1/Left-for-Dead-Reviewed-By-Dr-Wesley-Britton-of-Bookpleasurescom/Page1.html#.WcV1fGeovIU

 

Wes Britton’s 2015 article,” The Re-Boot of PER FINE OUNCE: A Continuation Novel That Isn’t What You Think” was published at:

https://literary007.com/2015/03/25/the-re-boot-of-per-fine-ounce-a-continuation-novel-that-isnt-what-you-think/

 

Wes Britton’s review of The Blockade Runners first appeared Sept. 11, 2018 at:

https://waa.ai/aI7E

 

Have you ever seen a UFO?

— feeling alien

 

 

Flying Saucers from Beyond the Earth: A UFO Researcher's Odyssey 

Gordon Lore

Hardcover: 460 pages

Publisher: BearManor Media (October 1, 2018)

ISBN-10: 1629333441

ISBN-13: 978-1629333441  

https://www.amazon.com/Flying-Saucers-Beyond-Earth-Researchers/dp/1629333441

 

 

Reviewed by Dr. Wesley Britton

 

 

 

The bulk of Gordon Lore’s latest book is a compilation of summaries describing apparently every UFO sighting reported to the National Investigations Committee On Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) from 1956 to 1980. During that time, Lore served as Vice President, Assistant Director, Secretary-Treasurer and investigator for NICAP, then the world’s largest UFO organization.

 

The summaries don’t stop there. While Lore focuses on sightings in the continental U.S. in his first chapters, he also presents sightings and close encounters internationally, at sea, and in the air up to the present day.  In fact, just before the appendices begin, Lore closes his journey by providing readers with a website and e-mail address where they can report new sightings in the future.

 

Lore’s approach is both objective and personal. Objective in that he rarely editorializes on the credibility of UFO spotters other than frequently noting scientists, two presidents, police officers, astronauts, military personnel and many other believable folks claimed to have seen unidentified flying objects near their homes or job sites. Credibility for many such occurrences is underlined when numerous witnesses reported what they saw at the same time and same place. Lore also shows how the U.S. military and government engaged in a long and often silly cover-up of UFO sightings by giving the public usually implausible explanations of how UFO phenomena could be explained away. Lore doesn’t have to add any commentary on any official agency’s lack of professionalism or believability. Instead, he lets the facts stand for themselves.

The odyssey is personal in that Lore was on the inside of UFO explorations for several decades and worked with the most eminent researchers in the field, appeared in Congressional hearings, and advised Stanley Kubrik while 2001: A Space Odyssey was being filmed. So he is able to provide portraits of many of the key figures involved in NICAP during its heyday and afterward.  

 

One perhaps irrelevant question I have is, just how much of this book is new material? In addition to the numerous articles and special reports Lore either wrote, co-wrote, or edited over the years,  his past books include Mysteries of the Skies: UFOs in Perspective, Strange Effects from UFOs and UFOs: A New look. Of course, if you’re a reader who’s read none of Lore’s previous work,  his Flying Saucers tome will be new to you, just as it was to me. I rather suspect Flying Saucers may well be Lore’s culmination of all his UFO work, pulled together in a grande finale.

 

I admit, before reading this book, I was willing to accept the possibility that alien visitors had come to our earth. I’m now convinced they have.  Many, many times. I’m still amazed how these visitors haven’t made any noticeable effort to communicate with us.    Why come all this way just to fly around and check things out? Well, those aren’t the sorts of questions Lore addresses. His purpose is to establish we’ve been getting visits on numerous occasions that defy any explanation other than we are not alone in the universe.

This review first appeared at BookPleasures.com on Sept. 6, 2018:   

https://waa.ai/aB4t