Saturday, July 14, 2018

Book Review: 'Future Prometheus: The Series (Future Prometheus #1-2)' by J.M. Erickson

‘No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.’ —Mary Shelley

Massachusetts therapist/professor/author J.M. Erickson has earned multiple degrees - a BS in psychology and sociology earned from Boston College, majoring in psychology and sociology, a masters degree from Simmons School of Social Work, and post-graduate certification program in psychological trauma, clinical assessment and treatment from Boston University. He is a senior clinician in a group practice, a senior instructor for psychopathology, neurobiology, counseling and ethics at Cambridge College and early in his practice career he worked as a critical incident specialist for police and fire fighters for a large urban setting just outside of Boston, Massachusetts, and later he provided crisis prevention and clinical intervention training for staff working with clients deemed dangerous to self or others in locked settings. In addition to all of this busy career work he has written eleven books, including a five part series BIRDS OF FLIGHT and a five part series FUTURE PROMETHEUS. Erickson blends all of his rich background in dealing with variations of mental response and behavior and concentrates on writing science fiction that is imbued with a hefty dose of psychology. Somehow because of his career focus he is able to make his fictional characters far more real in their strange roles of fantasy and as a result he pulls the reader into his bizarre world in a most comfortable manner.

Combining five novels into an epic journey takes keen manipulation for authors and Erickson handles this well. The novellas that are melded into a single epic are EMERGENCE, EVOLUTION, REVOLUTION, SUCCESSIONS, and RESURRECTIONS.

Erickson opens his novel with a miniature capsule that introduces his splendid blend of adroit prose, humor, and fantasy; ‘“I knew I would find you here!” Lieutenant Jose Melendez looked up from his bank of monitors. He was positive he had nothing planned with his friend, Airman Veronica France. Standing there in her flight suit and leather jacket, he could see that—even though her voice seemed angry—she was smiling. She casually leaned over his cubicle’s half-wall perimeter; this typically meant she was feigning anger. He was confused by her arrival in the cryogenics lab. He narrowed his eyes and looked up to his left in the hopes it would assist his memory. Was I supposed to meet her somewhere? What day is it? “Where else would I be, Airman?” He was still trying to figure out where and when he was supposed to see her, when he saw her smile broaden. That usually means I said I would be somewhere or do something trivial—and didn’t. Now she’ll ride me about it for months. He had known her for the last three years of his seven-year tour at McMurdo Station in Antarctica, and she seemed to be one of the few people who were not put off by his lack of social skills. She also did not bother him for many reasons. She’s smart, gay, asks really good questions, and is clear…except when she smiles like that.’
He writes with a magical flair of description of character and place, explaining why his novels are so widely honored. 

Erickson offers his own synopsis, far more complete than the brief one we can all read: ` In the tradition of dystopian science-fiction, the Future Prometheus - The Series compiles five novellas into on full-length epic of a world where the science we know today has warped into masterful and terrifying ways. Emergence begins with a mysterious pandemic that diminishes men's ability to think rationally making them terrifying killers. With women seizing power, a desperate pair of plans are developed - one is to keep the survivors safe behind the walls of mega-states, and the other requires finding unaffected men to re-populate the world. Emergence follows both the growth of artificial persons' (APs) sapience as they find their footing in the bold new civilization, and the world altering effects of the sole surviving man from more than one hundred sixty years ago. Revolution finds the powerful mega-state Nemericana forming a defensive line against the formation of a powerful enemy - their own artificial persons gone rogue. And while Successions unveils shifting world powers with humanity balancing on the edge of extinction, Resurrections reveals the formation of unlikely alliances to fight the forces of evil culminating in one massive invasion on Judgment Day - June 6th 2175.’

The power of Erickson's writing is such that his words act as a magnet, holding our attention through a multi-planet sci-fi tale as though we were traveling along side the characters. He is a compelling author whose style is such that he commands our attention from page one to the end. Very solid work.

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.

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