The Beginning & End of All Things: Stories of Man
In Just Another Wild Thing, Wells is a soldier of advanced age, possibly no longer completely human, engaged in an endless war when his ship crashes on unknown terrain. The surviving crew is soon the target of a rampaging beast capable of tearing its prey in two. Eventually, Wells is the sole survivor. He encounters an android who provides shelter from the emerging threat of the beasts, yet he soon realizes nowhere is completely safe in his new environment. In The Park, a class trip is mesmerized by rare finds and exhibits that seem more fitting for a circus sideshow. Valhalla Interrupted relates the tribulations of Orm, a warrior of many millennia, attempting to train the next generation of warriors to defeat his enemies. However, he is chagrined to learn those cherry-picked for the battlefield might lack the true skills. The sacrifices made for love and the magnetic pull for revenge form at the heart of The Legend of Bucaris in which Jasa is a warrior tasked with the protection of the emperor. The destructive nature of greed and its ramifications run roughshod in The Devil on Your Shoulder.
Repudium relates the story of Jasmat, a spokesperson for teleportation technology. Her willingness to go out on a limb to save her job and the company she works for has unintended consequences. A man escaping a rampaging horde of cyborgs finds an ally along the way in Todd. Surrealism is the name of the game when tyrants and dictators vie against each other in Dictator Dome. Professor Daniel Vesta becomes the subject of arrest, interrogation, surveillance, and experimentation in From Light. The Zero summons terror when a search and rescue mission turns disastrous as a malevolent presence summarily hunts the rescue team. Adam rounds out the book with an existential dialogue between creator and son (Project).
Science fiction is a genre that proves adept at providing flights of fancy that still unsettle its audience. The possibilities written appear outlandish, yet a portion of the truth lies just under the surface. The Beginning and End of All Things provides eleven tales that mystify and entertain. Each story is a stand-alone work, some brief (The Park) some mini-epics (Repudium). The powerful factor of the unknown and the fear and wonder it provokes in us provide a common link in the stories. The stories within are an eclectic bunch provoking thought as well as providing chills and the occasional laugh. A fun and engaging read.
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