Dancing with Eternity
John Patrick Lowrie
Camel Press, $17.95
On Vesper the third moon of Golgotha, the SRS informs Mohandas the actor that his scales are not considered a deduction and therefor he owes the government 4000 DCU. Not having the money, Lizard as the patrons call Mo is stuck in the jungle city of New Spanaway on a backwater world instead of heading to Heaven with the troupe.
At a dive, a woman takes an interest in Mo. He assumes she is a System Revenue Service field agent arriving to collect or a Planetary Tectonics agent ready to kick him off the dole and into the dangerous “Works”. Steel is neither as she offers him a position on her starship F.S. Lightdancer. Though he does not quite understand his duties, he accepts the opportunity to escape paradise. Thus begins the odyssey of Steel and Mo as they head roundabout to the most dangerous sector of the universe Brainard's Planet with stops at Earth, Circe and Eden; their quest is simply to save humanity.
Dancing with Eternity is a complex, cerebral, yet exciting science fiction thriller that extrapolates present day trends to what could be in a couple of millennia. The story line can feel convoluted as the audience learns of the past lives of the protagonists while touring the universe with the pair and the crew. Starting with the first encounter in a dive that will feels like Rick’s Bar in Casablanca, fans who relish something different in their futuristic outer space adventures will want to read John Patrick Lowrie’s entertaining braining up Dancing with Eternity.
The House of Caine
In 1966 after a decade away, thirtyish Miami herald reporter Rob Martin, accompanied by his friend Larry Campbell, returns to his hometown Millhouse, Connecticut on a short visit while on the way to interview Robert Kennedy. However, he finds his hometown affirms Thomas Wolfe’s belief You Can’t Go Home as Millhouse seems different, edgier and more dangerous.
When Larry vanishes, Rob searches for him unaware of what is going on. The town’s first family Norris and Julia Caine ruled Millhouse like benevolent despots when they were breathers; now vampires they rule the town like it is a large blood bank though they and their loyal human servants selected loser loners. However, some of their bites have turned into undead with no thought of stealth dining as people who will be missed are assaulted. Rob, trying to save his high school sweetheart Elizabeth Arbor, and his best childhood friend Tony Rizzo abetted by a few other humans begin a counterinsurgency.
The House of Caine is an entertaining metaphoric historical vampire thriller that will remind readers of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot; whereas Ken Eulo’s tale comes across as a historical while Mr. King’s classic is a 1975 contemporary. The story line is filled with action, but at times bogs down with references to the chaotic times especially Vietnam though in fairness the chaos of social reform is the underlying message. While Rob seems inept as a journalist unable to grasp what is going on amidst the corpses, readers will enjoy visiting The House of Caine in Connecticut as Ken Eulo takes his audience on a tour biting tour of a schizoid year.
Time and Chance
Thirteen years ago Richard Cochrane left New Hampshire seeking fame and fortune as an actor. Now as the last performance of a three month Broadway run of Brigadoon ends, he knows he has come a long way until a voice no one else hears interrupts his performance. He blows his lines. Later the despondent performer learns his mother died. Depressed over her death and his terrible acting, Richard returns home to a lonely existence in New Hampshire.
Thirteen years ago in New Hampshire Rick Cochrane dreams of Broadway, but instead marries the woman he loves. The couple raises a family, but over the years he resents his sacrifice.
As each Cochrane looks at their respective unhappy and unfulfilling life, a switch occurs. Richard the actor occupies the body of Rick the insurance man; while Rick resides in the body of Richard. Both approaches the change with euphoria as they each has a second chance to travel the other path they once rejected.
With nod to Freaky Friday inside the Twilight Zone, Alan Brennert provides a fabulous character driven fantasy that looks deep at choices and their aftermath to the chooser and his or her degrees of connection and separation. Both of the male Cochranes are unhappy with their respective lives so they welcome the switch. The support cast in New Hampshire and Manhattan enhance a thought provoking whimsical tale with deep metaphors starting with Brigadoon. Harriet Klausner