SPLANX - the ultimate electronic tablet of the space-oriented future, where humanity becomes one with a god-power beyond belief... Science-fiction meets horror in this novel about a paranormal investigator in Holland who becomes involved in a search for a mysterious "supernatural" digital tablet.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
I expected to be entertained and I was not disappointed.
Beginning with a shocker, it hooked me from the start. And onward we went, my full attention absorbed, through every intricate twist and turn, all the wonderful shades of science fiction and fantasy, but conveying often with poetry the real emotions. Careening with heart stopping speed to a surprising yet truly intrinsic ending. Mysterious, transcendent, real.
-- JON BUSH
~ Jon Bush, Email reviews
I'm not sure if the author intended his book to be read this way, but I felt as if I were watching a kind of spliced together inner movie. What I mean by this is, there seemed to be bits and pieces of various genre: noir, science fiction, horror, works of Art, novels, and, yes, movies, superimposed upon each other in rapid sucession...
In cinematic terms, the opening of "Splanx" has the quality of a Tarkovsky movie remake, "Solaris," where George Clooney is peering out of a window at the rain. The camera focuses on the downpour, and the terminally depressed face of the man, who we learn is an astronaut headed to a space station orbiting the large, strange new planet, Solaris. The mood is set in one shot.
There may be no rain in "Splanx," but the mood is set in a similar tone. Resi, an alcoholic, emotionally damaged paranormal investigator, is in Amsterdam investigating the death of a radical female poet/ activist/ sex industry worker, Laira. The feeling, as we read, is much like a standard black and white potboiler from the fifties set in the future as the P.I. (get it?) seeks to unravel the mystery of the death and to liberate the spirit of Laira, which remains trapped in the murder room.
As the details of an alien war emerge, a new species of mutant creatures has been created and a dark conspiracy between the aliens and Nazis during World War II are revealed (a not altogether fanciful plot twist given the wealth of material extant which posits similar connections). Here the book, more or less, lets the noir elements go and slips into the realm of straight, hard science fiction of the type made popular by classic authors such as Arthur C. Clarke.
Continuing my cinematic reading, Resi's quest for the truth in Amsterdam becomes much like the guide, the Stalker in another Tarkovsky movie of that name, where a man takes searchers into a bizarre land contaminated by radioactivity where all the rules of physics no longer completely apply. The Zone, as it is known is a kind of limbo/purgatorial place not quite earth but not quite hell. Amsterdam might be the current civilization's nearest equivalent.
By book's end, I found myself back in "Solaris," as the author raises questions about the nature of humanity: what is alien anyway? what is a human being? how are they different? are they? and, spiritually, what is the guiding principle behind it all? These are all valid, intriguing questions and the essential stuff of all good quest books.
I really enjoyed the book. I kept making notes in the margins like: "Feels like a scene from the Director's cut of "Blade Runner," Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Minority Report." P.K. Dick would get a kick out of this. I am not a fan of modern horror movies, having not seen "Alien" and any of the sequels, for instance, so my choice of movies is purely personal. Given the horror story climax to the movie, Peter's inspirational movies, such as they may be, would include many different movies than mine. To me it is the cinematic texture that is important, as this book has a definite visual as well as written texture.
No doubt Dick, a man not immune to humor in his books, would find this book interesting as the author appears to not be entirely serious about any of this. Once Magliocco introduces the Stanislaw Lem server robot, it beame completely clear, that he is using the novel to make fun of the genres he is working in. Lem, to those who don't know, was a Polish novelist ... a writer who could aptly be described as the "Nabokov of speculative fiction." ... He is also the author of "Solaris," which the classic Tarkovsky movie is based on and the intriguing Soderbergh remake.
So what is a Splanx anyway? Early on, the author describes Splanx as, "a miraculous cyber tablet," a kind of uber machine whose possession could give the owner ultimate power... Any more hints would be telling.
-- ALAN CATLIN ~ Alan Catlin, Misfit webzine
Christopher Obert, publisher of Pear Tree Publishing, for the New England Authors Expo ...
~ Christopher Obert, New England Authors Expo