Book Review: Transcendental (The Transcendental Machine)

Hello,

Transcendental-James-Gunn-small

Most of my mornings for the past two months or so have been fairly average on the surface but good underneath. On the surface, I get the bus into Manchester and walk ten minutes to work. Underneath, I get the bus and read the latest story on my Kindle reading list. This book was until recently a sci-fi story entitled…what this post is entitled (but without the ‘Book Review’ bit)

The chapters were around 20-25 minutes long and with my journey being about 20 minutes, I was able to comfortably read four chapters a week on my way to work. Give or take. This morning, however, I finished the book. It is one of three stories and I think I will be purchasing the next two. When payday comes around.

So, the description of this story is as follows taken from the following link https://www.amazon.co.uk/Transcendental-Machine-James-Gunn-ebook/dp/B00CVMIWFU:

Riley, a veteran of interstellar war, is one of many beings from many different worlds aboard a ship on pilgrimage that spans the galaxy. However, he is not journeying to achieve transcendence, a vague mystical concept that has drawn everyone else on the ship to this journey into the unknown at the far edge of the galaxy. His mission is to find and kill the prophet who is reputed to help others transcend. While their ship speeds through space, the voyage is marred by violence and betrayal, making it clear that some of the ship’s passengers are not the spiritual seekers they claim to be. Like the pilgrims in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, a number of those on the star ship share their unique stories. But as tensions rise, Riley realises that the ship is less like the Canterbury Tales and more like a harrowing, deadly ship of fools. When he becomes friendly with a mysterious passenger named Asha, he thinks she’s someone he can trust. However, like so many others on the ship, Asha is more than she appears. Uncovering her secrets could be the key to Riley’s personal quest, or to make him question everything he thought he knew about Transcendentalism and his mission to stop it.

 

I was looking for a more recently published book (this was published 27/08/2013 according to Kindle) as I have read older books and want to get into the habit of reading newer books. I also want to get into the habit of reviewing said books as I’m looking to be more active on Goodreads in the future. With that in mind, here is my review:

4 out of 5.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I have always enjoyed books, films and TV sci-fi that blends the fantastical elements of sci-fi with real life and tries to make it all seem as normal as possible. This story does just that.

There are a number of main and secondary characters who are all well drawn and are used very well. Each character does not outstay there welcome. None feel like they are just hanging around. Whenever their part is played in the story, they leave it. I liked the main character Riley, who seems very down to earth and grizzled war veteran by the sounds of things, who is also quietly smart. Asha is very mysterious from the start, which drew me into her character. And the vast array of aliens, all quickly and concisely described, provide a wonderful variety to the story. Some of the chapters are from some of the aliens themselves. Telling their own story of why they are on the ship and journeying to find the Transcendental Machine and reach the next step of their particular races evolution. All this coupled with solid descriptions of the surroundings means the story builds well and ends leaving me wanting more and thinking a lot about the whole thing. Which is how I like it.

Can’t wait to read the next two.

Getting back into the swing of things and feeling giddy about it.

Hello

As I mentioned last time out I’ve started to write my own time travel story. Once I’d gotten my head around my own concept, which was sending me loopy as I started to get into the story I have to admit (see https://johnrsermon.com/2015/01/29/oh-life-its-bigger/ for more details) it has been full steam ahead.

I’ve given myself the task of writing at least 500 words whenever I sit down to write and so far the story is moving along nicely. I’m hoping to get it all finished within the next week or so and then start editing it. I’ve introduced my two main characters and started my main character, Arthur, on the road to having his own ‘Future Chance’. Albeit against his wishes and he would’ve avoided any chance of taking such a…chance if his friend and would be/possibly/I’ve not decided yet love interest Victoria had not drunken entered him into a competition to win one. He is reluctant, given that it could end up in his death, but he’s starting to figure a plan to change all of that.

Pow! And that’s how far I am. I reckon it’ll only be another 8 – 10 pages before I’m finished and I have to say it has made me slightly giddy about the whole thing. Why only yesterday, when I’d done some exercise and eaten my t, did I feel a long dormant (a few months) giddiness about writing. I was about to write, get the 1st draft well on its way to being finished, and feel even better about myself than I usually do. And with that in mind…

I’m off to do some more writing.

Bye Bye

P.S Here’s a picture. Just because I felt like it.

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Chase scene baby!

Hello

I’m currently in the midst of writing a chase scene that will come before the final battle which will end my current story (as mentioned a bit in my last post)

The hero of the piece is currently chasing after two of his fellow searchers (hunters of demons) who are after the main demon villain of the piece. The hero has had to fight off some other demons and make sure another searcher (who had been seriously injured) is ok.

Now I need to get my hero across the city of manchester to the final battle ground. I’m trying to get across how fast he is going and what he can see, hear and feel. I also want to convey how passers by are seeing him. Its not been easy so far.

I’ve said that the hero is seeing everyone around him as blurs and how the wind is hitting his face. He is a demon searcher who has enhanced physical traits (speed, strength, agility etc) along with being a former police officer.

I’ve asked this before but does anyone have any suggestions? I’ve had some help (cheers joan) but am looking for somemore.

As always any help would be awesome.

Cheers

Feedback request!

Hello all,

This is a draft of a short story I’m working on entitled The End Solution. Have a read and I’d appreciate your feedback. Cheers

”  This attention following my unwanted rise to fame is running me ragged. They keep coming thick and fast even though they swear they mean me no harm. How can riot police scream such a phrase? I’m sure they can’t find me in here. I need to take my mind off this so I can relax and try to recover. I think it’s time to start my journal of this mess and how it all began.

Work was what it was nice, but a bore. I could do everything on my team without really thinking about it. The internet became half of my working day as a result.

“Hey! What you doin, son?” Peter said as he walked past. He did that all the time which was fairly annoying, but I’d give anything to hear those words again.

“Just looking at the latest news, kid. The End Solution is upon us.” I said in my most overacting manner. The government had decided that in order to finally combat crime, rape, paedophilia, fraud and anything else that was wrong with the United Kingdom they needed an ‘End Solution’. The government reports stated it would be ‘the perfect answer to all the fatal acts committed in this great country’. I remember being proud of my government at that point. That thought makes me feel very ill now though.

“How close are they?” Amanda had said. She was very smart and too good for the job she did. She also had the greatest body I’d ever seen. I was comfortably in the friend zone with her so I was near it a lot. That zone had its perks. I do miss those perks.

“Apparently they began testing this afternoon on volunteer soldiers who want to be the government’s new walking deterrent or ‘End Solution’. They’ll be able to locate anyone who is at a high risk of committing a fatal act and extract the chemical straight away.”

“How will they extract it?” Mark asked. He had a heart of gold and was a good friend. He was also conducting an affair with Amanda behind Peter’s back. Being a good friend and not wanting to get more involved than I already was made me keep it to myself. I’d like to see how they’re doing now but all I can see are their worried faces when I ran away.

“Doesn’t say.”

I didn’t think I’d miss them as much as I do. I know for a fact that if I did see them again, I would smell the smell and nothing else. I can control myself to a certain degree, but I can’t do it forever. It’s not a chance I’m willing to take.

That day continued as normal. The news reports constantly ran through my head. When the government first established that each person who committed a fatal act had a chemical in their blood that facilitated such an act I found it all so….intriguing. The tests they ran on the volunteers, criminals forced into it for freedom, conclusively showed that this chemical could be removed. And that the volunteers become incapable of committing a fatal act. From my desk I could see the building where those tests were being conducted and are still probably being conducted now. How would they locate and extract the chemical? Was the question that ran through my mind and it was something they never told anyone. I thought I’d be happy knowing the answer, but now that I do, I could live without it.

I left work and took the path which went right in front of the government building to go home. It’s an ominous thing to look at with its lord of the rings style two towers that seemed to glare down on people. Every so often the light would catch it and it almost looked like the towers had eyes. I continued until I saw the crowd outside its main entrance as usual. They’re always there trying to get information or complaining about the tests they were doing even though it had clearly made the country a better place. I glanced up at the windows of the smaller office building that joined the two towers together and saw my creator running wildly through the corridor. I was frozen in shock. It was all I could do.

He blasted through the main doors of the building with a wild and confused look in his eye. Hair everywhere and whatever wasn’t covered by hair was covered by blood. People were screaming and running but I just couldn’t move. I was thinking about why he was like that he’d reached me. His eyes seemed to say that he’d chosen me as he jumped and easily knocked me to the ground. Being tall and slim I could’ve dodged this, but his speed along with the look and feel of him I doubt it. When I tried to get him off me he looked me in the eye and I couldn’t and still can’t believe it. Was that happiness in his eyes? Like he was happy to attack me? Still in shock I allowed him to bite me and though it lasted only a minute I felt its effects immediately.

It felt like he was sucking and blowing on my neck. Taking blood out and putting it back in was what it was. When he jumped off me I could feel it course through my body. I had the overwhelming feeling that I was constantly drinking my favourite drink, but as I drank my thirst increased. It was as glorious as it was painful. I fell to the ground and as I got back up, the feeling changed. A distinct odour filled my nose and made my fingers tingle. It was the same feeling I get whenever I caught the smell of my favourite cake being made or meal being cooked. As people ran past, still screaming and frightened, they all gave off the same odour. I leant against a nearby pole and just took the smell in. It was like nothing I’d ever smelt before and it dawned on me that this was the smell of the chemical.

My thoughts were interrupted by a text message from Amanda. It said something like ‘RU ok? I can see people running around. If UR ok, we’re going for a drink in the usual place xx’. I genuinely thought to myself, Why not? I could have one drink and smell my friends, that has to go down as the best and worst thought I’ve ever had. As I casually strolled back through the crowd towards them standing outside work I noticed a few people directing horrified looks at my neck. As far as I could tell the blood flow had stopped but my neck and shoulder were covered. I suddenly felt weak at the knees and then it happened.

Everyone around me became irresistible and I had to suck it out of all of them. I started to run but my knees wouldn’t let me. As I slowly got towards my friends they all smelt the same but somehow completely different. The smell became more intense as I got my knees back and ran past them. The worried looks they gave me are all I have left and I think Amanda shouted after me but I’ll never know.

Reports came to light after I was bitten that not everyone that had the chemical extracted had committed a Fatal Act. Two hundred thousand separate cases of people wrongly accused of fatal acts that had had the chemical extracted became completely different people. This quickly fuelled the world’s news. But the world showed how fickle it can be when it forgot about the two hundred thousand after the discovery of my existence when my creator was found. He eventually killed himself but only after revealing my full name and who I worked for. I always got teased about forgetting to remove my work badge when I left the building, maybe I should’ve listened.

I now know that I can accurately tell who will and who won’t commit a fatal act. I’m an ‘End Solution Warrior’. The soldier was a prototype and the ‘End Solution’ can determine who’ll commit a fatal act and deal with it accordingly. They are completely unbiased as the chemical has never ‘Soiled their DNA’. I’ve never had the chemical in my system so I’d never commit a fatal act which is why he chose me. He was the last experiment to go wrong and when he bit me I became the first one to go right which is why the government want me to return so badly. But if I do return, because I’m their property after you sift through all the rubbish that fills their reports, they will apparently make me a ‘national hero’. All I can see in being a ‘national hero’ is being experimented on no matter how they sugar coat it. I’m not turning out like my creator or the two hundred thousand.

I’ve been roaming around now for the past three months and I can walk near people, who all smell divine, and not attack them. I can only do this for six hours or so before wanting to drink them all. The footage of my family on the news pleading for me to return is heartbreaking but I just can’t as I fear their lives will be in danger. The only time I’ll be able to return is when I’m in complete control. Whatever they did to my creator, apart from the chemical thirst, has made me gain muscle and my senses are much sharper. Thinking of which, I can smell them again. How did they find me? “