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Reviews Written by
Ronald W. Maron "pilgrim" (Nova Scotia)
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Sand Omnibus
Sand Omnibus
Price: CDN$ 6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificient display of poetic sci-fi........, Feb. 10 2014
This review is from: Sand Omnibus (Kindle Edition)
Hugh Howey is, obviously, best known for his absorbing tale aptly named “Wool”. In it he takes us on a highly descriptive and frightening journey through a post apocalyptic submerged world of underground silos. His character development is well formed, his plot engrossing and his climax is one that echoes both hope and trepidation. He, in sum, showed very quickly that he could capture and maintain a reading public through his innate and acquired skills.

With “Sand” he has moved to even a higher level. Building upon the skills learned through his previous publication he has now attained the ability to write what I term as being ‘prose poetry’. The ability to have your writings capture readers is one thing, but to have your novel literally sing beautiful melodies to you is quite another. There are very few classic authors who have this ability, let alone the more recent group of modern literalists who view the English language more as a road map into their thoughts rather than a book of poems or sonnets in which to enrapture those fortunate to peruse their novels. Bravo Mr. Howey! This is an lovely melody to have read!

Normally I gauge sci-fi writers on their portrayals of other lands based on their portrayal’s feasibility, if not realism itself. Admittedly this tale passes neither test for it’s setting is neither real nor feasible. But, in spite of that and because of the author’s tremendous writing skills, this failure quickly fades into the background and by chapter two I was readily accepting that the improbable was, in fact, probable and that the unbelievable had a strong leaning towards reality. If you are simply a dystopic lover this is an excellent book to read. But, if you are like me, and also appreciate highly skilled writing, this is a must read. Move over Charles Dickens, you may have found another writer who can describe people and places such as you did..................

Karma of the Silo: the Collection (Karma Omnibus Book 6)
Karma of the Silo: the Collection (Karma Omnibus Book 6)
Price: CDN$ 5.36

3.0 out of 5 stars An cativating novel with a disappointing ending.........., Feb. 2 2014
First I want to praise the writing skills, the innate creativity and the emotionality that went into the writing of this Wool sequel. The author is able to immerse the reader back into the claustrophobic atmosphere of Silo 2. She does so through the eyes of a secondary character from the original series, namely Helen aka Karma. Her insertion into this surreal world is not only initially dramatic but we follow her life through the ensuing fifty years of her raising of children, being the wife to the head of I.T. and her tireless work to not only remember how life was before the holocaust but to overcome and conquer the perverse conditions in which they presently live.

SPOILER ALERT

My problem lies with the novel’s ending. Is Karma originally hallucinating the green and blue earth she sees as she comes out from the Silo, or are the dark clouds the illusion? If she sacrificed her life for the good of the others, why didn’t she give them a view of where the exterior cameras, connecting pipelines or communication stations? How would the Senator recognize her after all the years that have passed since they knew one another? If the air was toxic, why wasn’t the Senator also in a air-tight suit? Yes, the ending does leave a glimmer of hope for the ensuing generations of silo dwellers but it could have been done in a more realistic manner. Because of this my rating went from a five to a three..................

Yesterday's Gone: Season One
Yesterday's Gone: Season One
Price: CDN$ 4.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars That was a wasted 6 hours of my life.............., Jan. 29 2014
I do not doubt that the writing of a dystopic novel is a difficult venture. First, you must have the world collapse in a manner that, while not fully believable, is somewhat feasible. Obviously during this phase you have to deal with the rotting corpses of most of humanity, what has happened to the overall topography and whether or not there is any hope for recovery. Secondly, you have to develop a reasonable plot line whereby a band of heroes successfully fight off the forces that have caused the world collapse while attempting to salvage what is left of humanity. Lastly, you need to tie the entire tale together in a rational manner explaining what occurred and how, in spite of the odds, civilization has or has not the hope to go on.

Our co-authors did none of this. Instead we have corpses, automobiles, street signs, etc... magically disappearing. Then we have a dispersed group of characters who, through magical 'dreams', eventually come together with little or no planning on how to deal with the global tragedy. The characters are very shallow and have very little, if any, believability about themselves. The 'monsters'? They are the strangest and most diffuse group of nightmares you will ever encounter! Being a dystopic novel fan I can honestly state that this is the worst story I have ever encountered!

In conclusion, while I support and encourage the publishing of e-novels because of it provides an avenue for unknown authors have their works published, it also allows unskilled and sophomoric pieces like 'Yesterday's Gone' to be thrust on the public. As a reader the only manner you have in deciding on a purchase is through the summation reviews of other previous readers. Unfortunately this does not prevent the author's friends and relatives from writing promising reviews in order to lure people to buy the novel in question. That sets a trap that the serious reader too easily falls into. I got caught in this trap! Please avoid my mistake and move onto something that is more feasible and not so poorly done...........

Let's sell these people A Piece of Blue Sky
Let's sell these people A Piece of Blue Sky
Price: CDN$ 9.96

3.0 out of 5 stars The minutia of Scientology..........., Jan. 15 2014
While the author included all of the facts and factoids of Scientology he did so in a highly drone and unorganized manner. His relating of this important history of chicanery should have been done in a linear manner with far less Scientological language and be presented as a tale that leads to the author's ultimate leaving of this cult. Instead we have a hodge-podge that jumps from the early fifties to the late sixties and back again with little symmetry at all.

The ultimate content of this work, however, is valuable. Lafayette Ronald Hubbard was a man who formed his professional leanings from writing science fiction stories. He appears to have convinced himself that his tales were not only possible, but highly probable for it is from this unlikely mixture of space aliens, paranoia and heroism that we have him developing a quasi-therapy which is loosely based on Freud's work, to the gathering of his 'flock' of believers to his formulation of Scientology as a religion. The one constant that remained throughout was not only Hubbard's charisma but his paranoia, his massive need for control and his deflated ego that needed continual stroking. Yes, his legions remain strong and loyal long after his death, but so do numerous other tenets of religion. Mankind continues to seek out not only the answer to life's basic question, but to do so at the exclusion of other groups of people. "We are the only people who know the truth" is a banner which should not only raised above the mantels of Scientology Meetings but above all other religious groups and churches as well. When will church members ever question the inane beginnings of the church doctrines that they hold so dear? My guess is that as long as there are frightened people in this world who are too lazy to find the answers within themselves, a PT Barnum will be there to sell them what they want to hear.........

The Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion Book One: The Mormons
The Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion Book One: The Mormons
Price: CDN$ 6.73

5.0 out of 5 stars Of 'suckers' and 'members'............., Jan. 15 2014
While PT Barnum made the statement that ...'there is a sucker born every minute', David Fitzgerald restates it and says ....'there is a member of Mormonism born every minute'. While seeing himself as being a atheistic heretic I, on the other hand, see the author has being both a truth-seeker and a realist. The historical myths that he reveals in this text is both shocking and, yet, fully expected. Mankind has historically sought out the answers to two pressing questions; What happens after I die? What is my purpose for living? While numerous dogmas have been created around these questions, the Mormon tenets, like most others, are based on wishes and hopes rather than facts and events. Joseph Smith was little more than a 'magic rock' charlatan who decided he could take his inane act to the next level and, by doing so, obtain for himself the riches and fame that he felt he deserved. What resulted, as we know, was a magical belief system that included magic underwear, a planetary god, fifty wives, and civil revolutions. But is also included for Smith the money and power that he sought. Brigham Young followed lock-step in Smith's footsteps and turned a façade of belief and magic into a full blown set of church rules and certitudes. And, believe it or not, the magic continues through to today with Mormonism being the fastest growing of all world religions.

Why then would members abide by such a fairy tale belief system? Because Smith and Young gave them the answers to the above two questions and added to them the 'fact' that they, and only they, after death would gain the highest recognition from their fairy tale god. Additionally their purpose in life was now clearly defined as being to a period spent pleasing the 'heavenly father'. A very sad tale of deceit on a massive level. But, unfortunately one that is not unlike all other organized religions that begins in myth and winds up in exceptionalism, power and corruption ............

The Modern Book of the Dead: A Revolutionary Perspective on Death, the Soul, and What Really Happens in the Life to Come
The Modern Book of the Dead: A Revolutionary Perspective on Death, the Soul, and What Really Happens in the Life to Come
Offered by Simon & Schuster Canada, Inc.
Price: CDN$ 16.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is this the map we all seek after ??, Jan. 4 2014
It is quite easy, I suppose, to praise a person whose thoughts, explorations and conclusions match those of you own. It is even easier, it is said, to praise that same person when he/she is able to put into highly readable verse the endpoint of your own personal struggles and adventures as you have groped with the meaning of both life and death. Both statements being obviously true I can, therefore, heap great accolades of praise on Ptolemy Tompkins for his book "The Modern Book of the Dead". But I must warn potential readers that this is not a book written for the less ambitious that lie amoung us. Nor is this a book for the virgin explorer of life's ultimate mysteries. This is a book that is to be read by those amoung us who have spent countless hours seeking out the same answers that the author, himself, has tirelessly sought. This book is meant to be a confirmation of your own effort as being `a job well done' and not as a starting point of the study itself. I, like the author, have spent decades researching, exploring and contemplating the issues that are set forth in this text. I, unlike the author, naturally had a different starting point and a different familial setting. But, as we both suspected, regardless of the twisting path that a person is initially set upon, all paths lead to the same ultimate truth. The secret lies in realizing that it is the journey that in itself is the reward for no single endpoint can be reached in this lifetime .......................

there was no Jesus, there is no God
there was no Jesus, there is no God
Price: CDN$ 3.15

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing new here.............., Dec 18 2013
Mr. Lataster presents a series of arguments against the existence of Christ and God that, while being a rational concept, have been stated countless times over the previous decades. There is nothing that is new in challenging the voracity of the Bible nor are there any novel statements made discounting both the Biblical and Historical Jesus. Also, our author ironically writes his conclusions in a manner that is similar to that of a Fundamentalist Preacher; Repetition, Repetition, Repetition, etc...... If Mr. Lataster plans to continue with his writing career he must learn that readers to not like to be 'preached at' and that we can actually comprehend a concept the first time it is presented. Or is this the author's manner of trying to convince himself that his point is valid?

Randi's Prize: What sceptics say about the paranormal, why they are wrong and why it matters
Randi's Prize: What sceptics say about the paranormal, why they are wrong and why it matters
Price: CDN$ 2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The summary of thought-filled research......., Dec 4 2013
Below is a copy of the email I sent to the author regarding the publication:

Dear Robert,

It is seldom that I compose an email to a writer whom I just read. Your meta-spiritual study entitled "Randi's Prize" deserves an exception.

Slightly over thirty five years ago I began the journey that you summarize in your book. I had been raised in a Fundamental Christian environment, read 150 + apologetics and listened to hundreds of hours by people the likes of Swindoll and McArther. One day it all snapped inside of me and I could no longer attempt to rationalize away scientific data that conflicted with Biblical `truth'. My first step was to fully re-read the Bible, which I have done five times. Finding it greatly seeped in fiction and wishful thinking my next step was to fully inspect the other world religions. A full two years after this exploration I concluded that they, too, were based on innuendo and tales, constructed for social control, and created from sparse worldly knowledge. The only credo they had in common was that they all, in form or the other, supported the Golden Rule, being kind to one another.

Fully disillusioned with society's morality police I set out to further explore the world of Newtonian and Quantum Physics. Being a post-graduate in Psychology I was fortunate to have chosen Biology and Physics as my minor so I was able to get on the speeding Physics train with little trouble. I particularly examined all the data, regardless of the intent of the experiment, for signs of psi and/or on-going life. While none of the writers would ever recognize anything metaphysical nor without repeatable measuring techniques, I did begin to pick up a pattern in the writings that pointed to an area in which they were unwilling to explore.

From here I explored the history of psychics and psi as you did in you clearly written text. I, too, deduced that the scientific community would not accept anything that would not fit into their preformed tenets but that they, like the world religionists, had become dogmatic and close minded. While I found a few scientists who would delve into the grey matter between science and religion. Laslow, Newton and Pimmel were the best of a small lot. The research and contemplative thought, while being long and arduous, in reality is the best thing that I have ever done with my life. And this would include overcoming an abusive childhood, a complete `nervous breakdown' in my 20s, a divorce, returning to university life and spending my career as a psychotherapist and mental health administrator. So, this time-consuming trek had a great number of other accomplishments to surpass and it did with room to spare!

Upon reading your book I felt like I was reading an auto-biography of the last ten years of my life. At the end of the last chapter, where you offer your final conclusions, my first reaction was to say "Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!". While I fully am aware of the fact that the only persons who you feel speak the truth are the ones who echo what is in your own mind, I realize that both you and I can be completely wrong and have spent much of our life chasing after a white crow. But, my published friend, we may also be very much on the right path and have an uncluttered view of where the intellect of the world will eventually reside. If so, I'll see you on the other side. If not, it was an interesting journey nonetheless..............

Universal Mysteries
Universal Mysteries
Price: CDN$ 0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The reality of life beyond Islam.........., Nov. 17 2013
Having spent over two decades attempting to realize the reality of life beyond the religion in which I was reared, namely Christianity, it is interesting to see that someone has made the same venture from the opposite side of the world. While the author's grasp of pure, objective science is somewhat weak and, hence, some of his analogies are shaky, the question remains the same; How, if at all, can the scriptures that we were handed be understood on light of present knowledge? Quantum Physics, Theoretical Physics and Metaphysical Philosophies have given us a pathway in which most of these writings can probably be shown to either be mere folk tales and/or overarching symbols of a greater reality.

I commend the author for taking this time consuming and frightening journey away from the dogmatic world of Islam towards a multi-dimensional and wave oriented understanding of our existence. I do not, however, advise that a reader conclude that the author's conclusions are definitive. Instead I strongly advise that each us begin our own journey from cultural religious dogma towards the horizon of universal
truth................

Science and the Afterlife Experience: Evidence for the Immortality of Consciousness
Science and the Afterlife Experience: Evidence for the Immortality of Consciousness
Price: CDN$ 11.30

4.0 out of 5 stars Carter's summation text of his trilogy...., Nov. 9 2013
This text, being the summation of his trilogy, is written in the clear and understandable manner that is shown in his earlier publications. He continues to make a concise argument for consciousness existing outside of the brain and fortifies his quest against the close minded dogma of both religion and the materialistic view taken by scientists. This is an excellent series for the reader who has done some previous exploratory work into this field but not necessarily for those who are more well versed on this topic.

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