Saturday, February 17, 2018

Book Review: 'Project Anan' by Lionel Lazarus

Irish author Lionel Lazarus may not have an academic background but his experiences picking up writing skills while working as a Toolpusher on the North Sea Oil and Gas Rigs as well as living in Aberdeen, Belfast, Dublin, Malta and Singapore, and working in the North Sea and the Middle and Far East subjected him to the environmental and climate changes that infuse this well scribed tale. It offers solid proof that talent as a writer need not necessarily be coached by degrees from universities when the writer has the skills and innate talent for story telling that Lionel possesses.
We are all focused on the environment and the threats to its subsistence – a dialogue that spills out of global seminars and political debates. But the threats to our future are best informed by a fine story of the consequences of environment abuse (stories always make issues more immediately accessible) and that is part of the reason that Lionel’s debut novel is so important as well as a very fine entertaining read.

In his eloquent Prologue, Lionel informs us of the direction of the story; ‘In the depths of empty space that separated galaxies, the ethereal minds of ten powerful entities confronted each other. The One, lord of their kind, looked warily across at the others. ‘Our fading energy supply has changed everything. Blue energy was once ours to use for our life force. Now it is a commodity, traded for fuel and power. It is running out — that must stop. Soon there will not be enough to sustain our energy masses. We will cease to exist.’ They remained silent and then, The Sixth spoke; ‘that is your fault. You allowed that to happen. You allowed the mortals to use it. I control what’s left of the blue energy supply and the worlds that produce it.’ ‘What are you trying to say?’ The One asked.The Sixth pulsed with clear blue light. ‘Must I say it again — I control what energy is left. It is time for change and I have support.’ ‘For eons we always shared our energy.’ ‘Energy is power. I will not share that. I challenge you to become The One.’ The others remained silent. They had never seen such contempt for The One — it was a new departure for their kind. ‘They are silent, you have no support left. There is not enough blue for all of us. Those who have no blue are facing extinction. We waste precious energy with this meeting,’ The Sixth said, as he retreated back to his home galaxy. ‘I will not allow a small group of Overlords exclusive control of our energy. Those of you who are with him, tell him that,’ The One said, as he and his companion, The Eight, withdrew to their home in the Anan galaxy.’

Where the story goes is summarized as follows: ‘Abandoning Earth after extracting their precious energy, Aliens left and forgot the human population they changed. Those changes linked the three species, across time and the Intergalactic Space that separated their worlds. Ravaged by sickness and an energy shortage that threatens their extinction, the Aliens return on a clapped out old rust bucket seeking help. Earth, devastated by climate change, wars and population explosion is not what they expected, radically altering how they make First-Contact with humans. Together, alien and human embark on a Project that may give the three species hope for survival. Battling against discovery by evil forces, technology problems, mistrust and war, a Scottish Oil Rigger, an Irish Farm Girl and a Marine from East London, find themselves embroiled in events they could never have imagined. Led by an Alien Overlord — they have an unenviable task as the Managers of Project Anan. Engulfed by tragedy, drama and romance, events take them and their crew to New Zealand, France, Australia, Switzerland and Space on a journey to a New World in a distance secret galaxy.’

Some books arrive that deserve our attention. This book is one, highly recommended, Grady Harp, January 16

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.