by Roland Hughes
Pub. Logikal Solutions, May 30, 2013
Print, ebook & Audio, 272 pages
John Smith is in his 80s and has lived in the bunker built and supplied by his family since he was eleven and the World that Was ended. As he puts it, the Universe decided it was time to reboot.
It's been over 60 years and he has been discovered by scouts from one of the organized enclaves who have now sent one of their twenty-something female reporters to interview him about the the Microsoft Wars and the end of the World that Was.
The interview style reminds me of the Socratic Dialog method demonstrated by Plato as John Smith attempts to lead her towards understanding by slowly building up her knowledge base on the foundation she came with until she has enough context to draw the conclusions he leads her towards. She spends much of the first half of the book in a state of incredulity throwing snarky remarks and questions back at him as he keeps leading her off on what seem to her like irrelevant tangents.
What does this have to do with the Microsoft Wars? Why are you telling me all of these myths and made up stuff?
He says at the outset that she has no frame of reference to even ask the questions relating to the Microsoft Wars. How can someone who has no concept of computers, cell phones, satellites and space stations, microwaves and lasers, nuclear power and nukes, submarines and space shuttles understand the methods of the players in those wars or their motives and objectives?
So he assumes the role of teacher and storyteller. This was my favorite aspect of this book--the respect for story as both a transmitter of information across time and a shaper of reality. This concept was imparted by frequent references to familiar stories from Merlin and King Arthur, Joan of Arc, Atlantis, and Pyramids to Star Trek, Babylon 5, and Peter Pan.
The dialog format also made for a quick read that drew you in and on as question followed question followed answer. John Smith's relating of the way things were in the before gave me much pause for thought as he puts new spins on information I was aware of and shares things I'd never heard about leaving me wondering how much fiction Hughes has woven in with his facts, hoping that some of the more disturbing things aren't true yet more than half sure they are.
This is an intellectually stimulating story that has me wanting to drag out all my reference books and shoot Google a hundred queries. One of my favorite things to do. Second to getting lost in an intriguing story.
From the Publishers:
What if the Mayans got the start of the end correct because they had survived it once before? What if our written history was just as accurate as the old tale about three blind men describing an elephant? What if classic science fiction writing and television shows each got a piece of it correct, would you know which ones? If your eyes can only see a tiny portion of a collage do you know it is a collage?Many might jump to the knee-jerk assumption that this book is a sequel to “Infinite Exposure” but they would be wrong. This book does occur after that book and will make reference to the outcome of the prior book, but it is definitely not a sequel.“John Smith” ties together Atlantis, cell phones, the Mayans, God, the Egyptians, “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, and the outcome of the terrorist attack yet to come all in the form of an interview between the last known survivor of the war and a reporter for the largest newspaper of its day, serving 5000 people twice monthly.During the course of this interview the reporter and reader will learn what did and did not survive, both this time and the previous times. Throughout the course of this interview both blatant and subtle nods are made to such works as “1984”, “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, “Peter Pan”, “Battlestar Galactica” (the new one), “Star Trek TNG”, and “Babylon 5” because one must both acknowledge greatness and build on what the fans already know.To steal a line from the Rolling Stones, “but what was-in you is the nature of this game.” When one finishes reading this book they should fall into exactly two categories: The morally offended and those who sit around for days questioning their beliefs and the true meaning of life.The book should be incredibly easy for an organization like the SyFy channel to turn into a film or made for TV movie, interspersing clips from old movies and shows, with or without sound, where their topics are being discussed and where they are being directly referenced.
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