by S.R. Cronin
GENRE: Sci-fi Fantasy
Telepathy creates as many problems as it solves, as everyone in the secret organization x0 would admit. When new member Lola discovers another group of telepaths with a totally different approach, those problems multiply at the speed of thought.
Soon, Lola’s family and friends are in danger. Lucky for her, she’s not your average budding psychic. Each person she is close to has a special gift of their own. That’s good, because it’s going to take every power they possess to stop these others from tearing apart x0.
The grey of winter had settled into Toronto, and the monad Dave admitted he wouldn’t have minded another week in New York. The climate wasn’t better, but somehow the lights did a better job of fighting off the gloom.
But Warren Moore had said go home and find evil telepaths, so here he was at the Toronto Zoo late on a Friday afternoon, shivering as he walked through the ten-acre Tundra Trek, featuring polar bear habitat. He was thinking he should have explored the Gorilla Rainforest instead when a young boy who couldn’t have been more than ten walked up to him.
“We are not evil,” the child said.
Dave blinked hard, thinking he must be mistaken.
“That’s right.” The boy answered the thoughts in Dave’s head. “It is unusual for a child my age to have this kind of ability. They let me do this to make a point to you. We are children and old people and pregnant women and men that could be your brothers. You don’t need to fight us. You need to get to know us. Yes, it was hard to find you out here. Any sensible man would have walked around the rainforest exhibit.”
Dave started to probe into the boy's mind, and he felt a sharp, defensive wall rise up to stop him. He sought out its source and sensed the woman on the other side of the bushes before he saw her. She stepped out in plain view. Good lord, she had to be at least eight months pregnant.
“Come here, Dave. Now.” The child ran toward her.
“His name is Dave, too,” she said. “My child and I are among the people of x0. You ought to get to know us better before you sign on with the one who wants to destroy us.”
With that she put her arm around the boy and the two of them walked back toward the warmth of a nearby exhibit.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Sherrie Roth grew up in Western Kansas thinking there was no place in the universe more fascinating than outer space. After her mother vetoed astronaut as a career ambition, she went on to study journalism and physics in hopes of becoming a science writer.
She published her first science fiction short story and then waited a lot of tables while she looked for inspiration for the next tale. When it finally came, it declared to her it had to be a whole book, nothing less. One night, while digesting this disturbing piece of news, she drank way too many shots of ouzo with her boyfriend. She woke up thirty-one years later demanding to know what was going on.
The boyfriend, who she had apparently long since married, asked her to calm down. He explained that, in a fit of practicality, she had gone back to school and gotten a degree in geophysics and had spent the last 28 years interpreting seismic data in the oil industry. The good news, according to Mr. Cronin, was she found it at least mildly entertaining and ridiculously well-paying. The bad news was the two of them had still managed to spend almost all of the money.
Apparently she was now Mrs. Cronin, and the further good news was they had produced three wonderful children whom they loved dearly, even though to be honest that is where a lot of the money had gone. Even better news was that Mr. Cronin turned out to be a warm-hearted, encouraging sort who was happy to see her awake and ready to write. "It's about time," were his exact words.
Sherrie Cronin discovered that over the ensuing decades Sally Ride had already managed to become the first woman in space and done a fine job of it. No one, however, had written the book that had been in Sherrie's head for decades. The only problem was the book informed her it had grown into a six book collection. Sherrie decided she better start writing before it got any longer. She's been wide awake ever since, and writing away.
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One of Two by S.R. Cronin is the final book in the ’46. Ascending’ series. This science fiction/fantasy story brings together all of the characters introduced in the various stories and explores the complicated possibilities that result when those who exploit their powers for selfish gain encounter those who have honed their powers but just want to live in harmony.
What a wild ride. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of psychic phenomena since I once heard that humans only use a fraction of their brain power and I wonder what would happen once we learned to harness our potential. Although each of these stories can be read as a stand-alone tale, I think it would be most difficult to read this one without having read the others in the series because there is so much backstory that influences the actions of each of these folks.
This story (and series) explores current events but uses the psychic twist to make one think about the impact of each person’s action or inaction. I love the capabilities that each of the special characters displays and it was fascinating to watch them learn how to work in tandem with each other, once the walls of secrecy fell. The irony was seeing that some were “handicapped” despite their special abilities and I can’t help seeing the allegory with society in general, which seems to be obsessed with “normal” even though it would be not only a boring place to be surrounded by carbon copies, but also a stagnant one.
As always, the book is thought-provoking and I love getting reacquainted with folks from the previous stories. Ironically, I hadn’t remembered reading this WITHOUT having read the other books, so I was startled to discover I had already reviewed it as a stand-alone story but also gratified that I am at least consistent in my evaluation, lol.
Part of the charm of this series is its diverse group of characters and locations, so that one gets glimpses into different cultures and mores, and it was wonderful to armchair travel from one pole to another and across a multitude of countries.
This is a great series to stimulate “what if” ponderings, and I think everyone could benefit from the creative exploration of our differences as humans and our response to having abilities that set us apart. I think that fans of science fiction and fantasy will enjoy seeing the possibilities while those who are concerned with current events will appreciate watching that just a few determined folks can make a difference, both in the short term and in the future.
A copy of this title was provided for review