Nov 082011

Genome Maxtrix: A Virtual Suspense Thriller by Joseph Veramu

Ethan, a computer scientist working for GenGlobal a multinational genome mapping corporation, has the uncanny feeling that he is being watched and that his actions are being manipulated by artificial intelligence. The only thing that stands between Ethan and the AI that wants to silence him is his girlfriend, Emily. Joseph Veramu’s sci fi, virtual suspense/thriller takes you on a rollercoaster ride through the world of genome sequence machines and AIs to its shocking conclusion.

My Rating:

Veramu creates a fairly interesting world where dreams, reality, humans, and artificial intelligence all teeter a fine line. Infused in the story are believable characters as well. They face love, loss, fear – the spectrum of human emotion. But where this short story really falls flat is in the author’s inability to trust the reader. Veramu has great ideas and explains them in great detail, yet it feels like you are constantly beaten over the head with each and every one. There is very little left to the imagination. I strongly agree that speculative fiction with speculative technology needs some context, but unfortunately in this story, the scientific context seemed far far more important than plot or setting. A great deal of this was found in the dialogue, where characters, rather than having meaningful interactions that made the scenes come alive, seemed there solely for the purpose of regurgitating and explaining how this magical world works – and in effect completely breaking up any pacing that a good thriller requires. But I really do think that with a little work this story has potential to become a fascinating edge-of-your seat thrill-ride. It borrows well from some of the great films and books of our time. So now all we need is some cohesion.

Oct 212011

The Mutagenic Cycle, from author James Michael White

A thief discovers the drug he stole is more than merely mind-altering, and the designer from whom he stole it more terrible than humanly possible … love and betrayal clash in a world in which the only escape from slavery is to become inhuman … one man provides hope to a world devastated by genetic catastrophe.

Other Stories…

A down-on-his-luck journalist interviews a man who may be a god, a kook, or the perfect solution to a life of misery … a group of intrepid explorers touch the edges of space only to discover ancient terror … a man discovers disturbing hidden powers behind human motivation.

My Rating:


There is a stigma around science fiction that ALL of it is just dumbed-down, mindless escapism. What White does so well in his short story collection is create a sense that science fiction can really be story-driven while showing literary prowess. His characters are deep, his imagery vibrant.  There is a feeling that you are trapped inside his settings, unable to leave until the story is finished.  I could easily equate it to Philip K. Dick. It’s dark, almost to the point of a cyberpunk throwback. And there’s a noir feel to it. All-in-all it’s just great writing. My only reason for not giving five stars is that all three of the stories in The Mutagenic Cycle seemed unfinished. There was closure, sure, but still felt unresolved in some way. I suppose that’s a testament to the author. These characters are too interesting to be stifled into 10k words. Will we be seeing any of the stories developed into full-length novels?