Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Book Review: 'As Wings Unfurl' by Arthur M. Doweyko

Florida author/scientist Arthur M. Doweyko was awarded the 2008 Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award for his contribution to the discovery of Sprycel (dasatinib), an anti-cancer drug successfully brought to the marketplace in 2009. He has authored over one hundred publications (papers, abstracts, patents, book chapters) and has been an invited lecturer in a number of drug-discovery and computational venues. Now retired, he is embracing writing fiction. His novel ALGORITHM (a story about DNA and the purpose of humanity) won a 2010 Royal Palm Literary Award, and his of short stories have been selected as Finalists in the Royal Palm Literary Award contest, and two Honorable Mentions in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest. He teaches college chemistry and is a fine artist!

To discover a scientist who creates real time additions to the benefit of medicine and mankind while able to expand his field of vision into the interstices of science fiction is gratifying to readers whose exposure to sci-fi is relegated to beyond credible tales. Arthur drives home a tale that has sufficient grounding in now and in humanity that it makes approaching his writing immensely exciting.
A solid hint that this book is unique in the genre is The author’s use of a Prologue that sets a tone without opening too many windows to the coming story. His writing style is infectious as he introduces his main character – ‘Apple Bogdanski looked away from the window and folded the letter. He still couldn’t get over it. A damn car accident, and his parents were gone. He had read the letter over and over on the flight from Vietnam. It was impersonal, written by some lawyer’s aide. Never having had the chance to say good-bye was like a knife turning in his gut. He slipped the letter back into its yellowed envelope and dropped it into a coffee-table drawer. The knife continued turning. He wiped his eyes with the back of his hand, and his gaze wandered over the dim interior of the apartment. The memory of his parents lived in every room, in every piece of furniture, even in the sound of dishes clattering in the sink. On quiet nights, he still heard Mom in the kitchen and the rustling of a newspaper being folded in his dad’s easy chair. His father had talked about sending him to college and a future full of other possibilities when he finished his tour. How screwed up is that? His hand eased down to his left calf and caressed the wooden prosthetic. The war had cost him everything below his left knee, and in return, the army had given him a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. Apple shook his head and smirked. Fair trade. He was a coward then and a morphine addict now.’

So the plot is offered in the synopsis: ‘Applegate Bogdanski returns from Vietnam a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and missing a leg. A fair trade, he thinks, for a coward, whose only remaining passion is to dull his grief with morphine. He stumbles through each day, looking forward to nothing and hoping it would arrive soon. Enter Angela, who claims to be his guardian angel. Neither one is an angel, but together, they uncover a conspiracy that threatens to undo humankind itself. This is a story of courage, redemption, and a forbidden love which overcomes all obstacles.’

Science fiction and fantasy swirl together in a completely satisfying novel by a fine writer. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, April 18
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.

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.