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Best Books of the Year So Far
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Bruce Davis is a practicing general and trauma surgeon in the Phoenix area. After fourteen years in the Navy including duty on Guam, several large gray ships and with the Marines, he settled in Mesa, Arizona. Writing has been a passion that he has pursued for many years. He has had short stories appear in several electronic magazines including Anotherealm and Golden Visions. QUEEN MAB COURTESY is his first published novel. When not working or writing, he has been known to try his hand at woodworking, sailing and computer gaming. (World of Warcraft was once a serious addiction.)
Bruce Davis is a Mesa AZ based general and trauma surgeon. He finished medical school at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago way back in the 1970's and did his surgical residency at Bethesda Naval Hospital. After 14 years on active duty that included overseas duty with the Seabees, time on large grey boats and a tour with the Marines during the First Gulf War, he went into private practice near Phoenix. He is part of that dying breed of dinosaurs, the solo general surgeon. He also is a writer of science fiction novels. His works include the YA novel Queen Mab Courtesy, published by CWG press (and recently reissued by AKW Books as the e-book Blanktown). Also published through AKW Books are his military science fiction novel That Which Is Human, and the Profit Logbook series, including Glowgems For Profit, and Thieves Profit. The Website: www.thatwhichishuman.com The Blog: www.dancingintheor.wordpress.com
In his debut novel, Bruce Davis manages to bring a fresh voice to the SciFi/Fantasy genre by engaging the reader's head and heart. This a book for people who don't think they like SciFi as well as for those who do but want something a little different. With its explicit descriptions of the Chicago area and its recipe for an Italian specialty, it firmly places itself on the less-than hard-core side of its potential readership. While it has several interesting futuristic features, it never focuses on them or on the action to the detriment of what is, at heart, a story about family and its claims on its members. Although the author is a medical doctor, he doesn't overburden us with jargon and uses what he does incorporate in a way that moves the story along nicely. With the juxtaposition of Shakespeare-quoting lead characters and Guamanian folk sayings, the dialog is intriguing without being cloying or overly technical. Anyone looking for a way into the SciFi world or any fan who is looking for a little more heart from the genre would be well advised to pick up a copy of this novel. As a reader who fits into the latter category, I am hoping the good doctor has plans for a sequel.
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This is not Dr. Davis' first go around at writing, he has been in fact writing for some time which is impressive when you consider he is also a respected trauma surgeon for one of Arizona's many hospitals. A profession not known for having a lot of free time. Despite this Dr. Davis has over the years built up a good amount of written work. This is his first fiction work that I've read however.
Queen Mab Courtesy is his most recent fiction work, a near future science fiction that embraces a lot of the same themes and ideas of cyberpunk... Without the cyberpunk baggage. Don't get me wrong, I love me some Cyberpunk although I tend to prefer the edge cases. For example, I love me some Shadowrun! Hoping to restart that game soon!
Right, book review. Moving on. Queen Mab Courtesy takes place in the near future in the year 20something. How story focuses on a young man named Horacio 'Tito' Guzman. Tito is in many ways an unfortunate young man, although through no fault of his own. Tito is a Denver Dwarf, or to explain, he is someone who is born with massive birth defects due to a vaccine that wasn't properly tested. Now I'm sure you ask, why would we use an improperly tested vaccine on people? Simple. The vaccine was to contain a genetically engineered plague released in the worse terrorist attack in over a century. The terrorist group that committed this attack is frankly unimportant, what's more important are the effects that attack had on Tito and the society he has to live in. For example Tito is a dwarf and has eyes that are placed in a way that gives him a blind spot right in front of him. It makes reading somewhat difficult for him but he manages.
This novel is set in a world of the not-too-distant future that few of us would really like to see. On the surface, it is relatively pleasant for the "normies", but anyone who doesn't fit into the exact, bland mold required by the Powers That Be find themselves ostracized, marginalized. This is obviously a familiar theme in science fiction, indeed one of the principal pillars of the genre, and Bruce C. Davis paints a vivid picture of what could come to pass. Most importantly, the suspension of disbelief is never challenged, a point which is ignored by many writers, particularly of Hollywood movies, for the sake of dramatic effect. This reality is gritty enough to make you want take a long shower.
The two main characters start in the familiar roles of wise old warrior and recalcitrant acolyte in what appears to be a tightly written detective story. Then it transpires that the unlikely - really unlikely - young hero not only has wisdom which rivals his mentor, but also has a deeply troubled past which has forced him to overcome immensely difficult circumstances even before the story begins. The twin story threads of a conspiracy mystery and the self-discovery of the young Tito are neatly blended as we follow his search for his long-lost father.
And what is a Queen Mab Courtesy, anyway? You'll have to read it to find out.
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Queen Mab's Courtesy is a wonderful story for anyone jr high school age and above. It should be included in at least the optional book list for schools as it provokes the thought process of what would you do and stimulates discussion. It is sci-fi for sci-fi aficionados as well as less enthusiastic sci-fi readers. One can't help but love the spunky Horatio or the Shakespeare quoting Charlemagne. The characters have dimension the plot twists and never ceases to entertain. As with early Niven this book makes one question how we are evolving as a culture and yet remain the same. How each of us as Shakepeare says in Hamlet"to thine own self be true". Queen Mab has a wide appeal and is one to read and reread to be able to absorb all the sutble nuances. If you are like me and want a change of pace, a good story and a fun time you will enjoy the ride. I thoroughly encourage book lovers to get a copy of Queen Mab and settle back for an entertaining time.
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