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Epsilon A.R. Paperback – January 24, 2013
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Zackery Alexander Humphreys
Reviewed by R. Murry
My knowledge of Science Fiction is limited. This genre is not the first thing I look for when I look for reading material. However, Zackery's Epsilon may have enticed me to read another of his books and put SciFi books on my shelf.
My reference was minimal. Thoughts of Alfred Hitchcock's psychological thrillers and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 came to mind when I was reading Epsilon. In 451, a main character Clarisse asks another, Montag, if he's happy. He is a fireman who burns books for society, which is used to suppress dissenting ideas in that novel.
Mr. Humphreys' Epsilon well written novel entails both Hitchcock's psychological thrills and Bradbury's theme of suppressing ideas. However, he is not a Hitchcock or a Bradbury - Who is? He could be if he keeps on with his writing, although I'm no fortune teller.
Violence, murder, crime, and psychological twists are prevalent in this story of a man named ALN-896 who is taken from his beloved city called Epsilon and put in prison. He has no idea why - murder?
Life in his new environment is different from his beloved Espilon, where unbeknown to him he and society's ideas were suppressed. In prison, his ideas are not but his survival is. Now, he has friends and is called Alan. Problem is Espilon's society sets up situations that have one conclusion in mind - all prisoners must die, because they broke laws like loving a women or reading a book, which their society disallowed.
If you like fight scenes, Zackery's novel produces one that is up there with the Roman gladiator events. Although in Epsilon's prison, their criminals don't walk away. They live to die another day.
The reader will feel the psychological effects of this novel and ponder the - What if? Therefore, I give this novel thumbs up. No pun intended.
The story brings us into a futuristic city where robots and humans live and work together to make Epsilona better city. ALN-896 is used to the comfort of his life: he works during the day, takes the little pill and falls asleep. No dreams, no worries, no relationships.
That is until one day he starts dreaming and remembering strange things. On the very same day a lot of strange things happen and he is taken to the man who he admired his whole life: the Chief Joseph Freedmen. Instead of telling him that he have been doing a great job, he accuses him of killing his coworker and puts him in prison.
After adjusting to prison he makes friends and while trying to figure out his dreams, his only way to stay alive is to escape the prison.
MY THOUGHTS: First of all: Is there going to be a second book?? Because that ending made me really really really upset. What the hell happens to Alan? Arrrrrggggg!
Epsilon A. R. has become my new favorite book with twists and unexpected events. It's been interesting to get into Alan's head and actually see how he changed. And his character! It was very well executed and presented. There were times when it was a little confusing between dreams and reality but as you read further, everything makes sense so thumbs up for following with the story.
Definitely love the world that the author created and cannot wait to read more books from him. 5 Stars!!!
Unlike other towns, the people who reside there have names that are a combination of 3 letters & 3 numbers. Meet ALN-896. He works for the Reclamation Division or as we'd say, the Sanitation Department. Each day is identical to the rest. A pill is taken daily to preserve his life. Audibly, he requests food & it is mechanically delivered to him. Strict laws dictate every aspect of his existence right down to what he is allowed to dream about.
One fateful Sunday, he breaks this routine by saving a dying woman from a fire. This act is forbidden. Now, odd dreams have begun to disturb him. He's heard bits & pieces about the Overland- outlying land that surrounds Epsilon. For 700 years, Epsilon has survived, essentially a landlocked island unto itself. Leaving is simply not an option. Soon, ALN-896 begins to ponder the mysteries of the Overland. Dreams of death & carnage haunt him at night.
After his dreams become too weird to keep inside, he confesses them to a co-worker. Immediately, he's summoned to City Hall. Unconscionably, ALN-896 is arrested for murder! But, ALN-896 believes he's only dreamed of death & nothing happened in reality. Is he capable of murder? Or did he push the envelope too far by wondering of life beyond Epsilon thus making powerful enemies?
Obviously, `Epsilon AR' is a work of Science Fiction. From a plot standpoint, I was reminded of the movie `Demolition Man'. Characters are straightforward with heroes & villains being easy to discern.
While there isn't a major `wow' factor, it is a good piece of Science Fiction. Doctor Who fans will want to try it out as would Star Trek enthusiasts. Certainly is earns 4 out of 5 stars.
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