Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Trueluck Summer by Susan Gabriel

Trueluck Summer. Susan Gabriel. Wild Lily Arts Inc. October 2016. 350 pp. ISBN#: 9780998105000.

Ida Trueluck, a widow, moves into her son’s home in Charleston, South Carolina, in the summer of 1964. Her husband has just died, and she’s not quite sure she’s doing the right thing but she is willing to try it for a while. The only sure thing is her love for her granddaughter, Trudy, a 12 year-old girl full of spunk, questions and smartness. Little do they know at the beginning of that summer that they are about to change history forever.
1964 is the time of pre-Civil Rights Act conflict. The residents of Charleston know that change is coming but few are truly welcoming it. It’s not appreciated when a young African-American boy, Paris, saves Trudy’s life. In fact, it brings the Ku Klux Klan alive and their act appalls Trudy’s father, the Mayor of Charleston. Not only does Trudy find the Klan’s act terrible, but she is determined to continue her friendship with Paris. They also decide they need to do more to make things “right.”

This then is the story of their escapade, their plan to remove the Confederate flag outside of the capital building. When reading this, one wonders if their sanity has run amok as not only is it an impossible endeavor but the implications of success are terrible to contemplate.

To say more would spoil one of the most lovely coming-of-age stories this reviewer has read in a long time. Their actions are so realistically planned and carried out that the reader totally empathizes with their dream and roots for them to the very last page. They truly depict true friendship, loyalty and integrity.

Susan Gabriel conveys a realistic, sensitive point of view for all the characters involved herein, clearly reflecting and paralleling the state of segregation and evolution of that belief system during the 1960s.

Trueluck Summer is highly recommended historical fiction, lovely writing with thought-provoking scenes that apply to the present as well as the past!

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Punch Escrow by Tal M. Klein

The Punch Escrow. Tal M. Klein. Geek and Sundry. July 2017. 300 pp. ISBN #: 9781942645589.  

It’s the year 2147 and nanotechnology reigns supreme!  There’s no more pollution because genetically engineered mosquitoes suck carbon dioxide out of the air.  Cars drive themselves and chits are used to pay for travel.  But the highlight of this world lies in teleportation, the ability to travel anywhere in the world in literally seconds.  It’s all controlled by International Transport, a company where Sylvia, Joel Byram’s wife, works.  The company is into changing life for the better, all with the science of quantum mechanics which IT’s scientists have completely dissected and applied to modern technology.  But nothing is perfect, right?

To start with Joel and Sylvia are about to celebrate an anniversary, and Joel realizes that this marriage isn’t working at all basically because communication between the two is nil, both in quantity and quality.  Whenever Joel gets close to a time when they can stop and talk, something happens and the talk never occurs. 

Now Joel’s on his way to Costa Rica for a much-needed vacation for Sylvia and him.  However, something goes very wrong and Joel is now the prisoner of IT scientists who proceed to explain that one part of him got transported to Costa Rica but another part of him, one might call “the soul,” is here, never left and ultimately probably dead although his body’s presence denies that last premise.

Something’s gone dreadfully wrong and it all involves a war between corporate higher-ups, who just don’t know when to curb their greed and realize what they can’t accomplish with science, and a bunch of religious maniacs who believe the new scientific world is evil, the Tower of Babel Biblical story updated by centuries.

All of this is accomplished with Joel’s snarky humor, clear descriptions (wee bit too many) of the hard science facts involved in the plot and this world, and a mystery filled with adventure and Sylvia and Joel go out of the box to find out precisely what IT Corporation has done that is science gone amok and why!!!  For science fiction fans, this is a gem! Enjoy it all!