Reviews of Free Sci-fi - I

Reviews of free sci-fi with titles beginning with I

Imagiscape – Sharon L. Reddy

** sex = 3, action = 2, prose = 7

This ebook has seven short stories and a short novel all in one file. All suffer from the same form of confusion, there are no blank lines. We can change point of view, time, place and there is nothing at all to mark it. In many of the stories it would be profiable to write down the names of the characters. That's a little diffficult when you're on the stationary bike in a gym or staphanging on a bus or subway, but if you're in a place where you can do so, it often helps. It helps to go back when you find you're in a different point of view and find out where the change occurred and pretend there is a blank line there.

There is more mention of sexuality in her work than in most free sci-fi but in no way is this erotica. About half the sexuality is homosexuality and none is explicit. She may be trying to make a point about repression in a few places.

The most common 'problem' in this, and another story of hers (L'Gem) which I did not finish is that people in many of these stories get so much done in so little time it is fantasy. Anyone who has been an engineer knows that everything always takes twice as long as the worse case estimate, no part 'guaranteed to fit' ever does, the software is not compatible with the hardware and the critical 'hero' who is the only one who knows how the [fill in the blank] works was laid off two weeks ago. Anyway, things never go as smoothly as planned, much less get done in half the time. This was a common theme in '30's and '40's propeller-head sci-fi however, and a common theme in my earliest stories written when I was in elementary school. They are fun to write, kind of like stories where the protagonist has superpowers of some type, either psychic or technical, that allows him/her/them to do whatever they like to change the world and and opposition is powerless to stop them (Tales of the Triad by R.J. Murray, also L'Gem again).

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In Less Than a Second – Christi Dennis.

** sex = *, action = 2, prose = 7

It is difficult to review this. It is not really formatted as a story, but as an autobiographical (told in the first person) account of child sexual abuse, masochism, religious dogma and the psychological damage they do and the difficulties of working thru that damage. It is thinly wrapped in a science fiction tale of alien abduction into a perfect world of psychic healing. In this world the main character is made to face her suppressed memories of abuse, shown the sins she committed (as males) in her past lives to cause this karma, and shown how she invited the abuse.

Some of the incidents are a little graphic, but they certainly are not erotic (If you find them so, please seek help) which makes it impossible to give this a rating for sexiness. Some of the incidents she re-lives are violent. She meets many aliens, all but the liquid one could be played by humans in costume. Their personalities however, are much more different from normal humans than the modified humans of Kassidor, in fact more different from normal humans than the kedas of Kassidor. Thruout this universe all leaders are male because they are more aggressive, but you find that out after going thru nine hundred pages of males who are less aggressive than a bubble bath.

The only real plot is to get her cured and back to Earth so she can change the course of history by teaching us to cooperate instead of dominate one another, and by teaching us to use credit instead of money. Credit is doled out by how much good you've done the world, instead of how much good you've done your investors.

But there are over nine hundred pages in this book, and almost all of it is contrived conversations about philosophy. People, even the main character, change personalities as required to make whatever point is being made at the time. I wonder if this might have come across a little better if it was presented in a non-fiction format?

There are some things in the philosophy I like, such as cooperation instead of domination, as in The Aluminum Quest. There are some things I don't like, such as raising children by 'professionals' instead of parents. Most of the ideas are good and all are well-intentioned. Most are impossible without modifying the human psyche, as has been done on Kassidor. There is no analysis of how anything would be paid for, or what alternative way society would be organized so that such a huge proportion of resources could be devoted to mental health. In the story the main character is picked up and carried a lot, fawned over and worshipped by whole planets full of advanced beings. That one fact is probably the one I find most disturbing.

I'll mention some of the other ideas because many have merit but few will want to push thru nine hundred pages to find them.

Society likes to blame the victim, as she eventually came to blame herself. I personally don't believe any amount of 'provocative' behavior from a child excuses abuse.

Healing yourself will heal all mankind. Maybe if we all healed ourselves?

Our churches have distorted Jesus' intent. The concept of sin and damnation are used by mortals to control and dominate other mortals. Very true for many of them.

Very few people really understand anything except by rote. Science and superstition are the same for them.

Our sins in previous lives influence our fate in this life. From the Hindus.

I also hope this was written as a story and isn't a REAL autobiography. If it is, she deserves five stars for surviving it and recovering enough to write it out in any form. If this is the author's life experience, writing this out was probably a big part of working thru the mental problems that abuse caused. I have the impression that doing so was helpful. If so, this story has a happy ending.

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