Growing up in the 1980’s I remember lots of talk about the possibility of a nuclear war between the U.S.S.R and the United States. The cold War ended in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed and people didn’t seem to talk as much about nuclear weapons, at least for a while. The question after the cold war was what happened to the Soviet Union’s Nuclear Weapons? That question is the subject behind Mary Mycio’s Doing Bizness: A Nuclear Thriller. This book is a fictional look at what may have happened in Russia and the Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Included in Doing bizness are CIA agents, disgruntled politicians, terrorist spies, black market snicker bar dealers and much more.
The story begins in the Ukraine, who has just inherited the U.S.S.R’s nuclear weapons. The Ukraine is in a state of chaos with all the changes that are happening in 1992. They are not sure what to do with the weapons, but there are plenty of people who want to take them off of their hands. Two American military contractors want to work with the Ukraine on a system to track the weapons, an Iraqi spy wants to buy a bomb for Baghdad and a pair of Monks wants their hands on a bomb to bring on the apocalypse. Everyone is coming to the Ukraine for a piece of the action. Doing Bizness is a political thriller that could have actually happened.
I have to admit, I’m not use to reading books like this and some of what happened in the story went over my head. I’m not heavily into politics and didn’t know a lot about what was going on in the Ukraine at the time. However there was a lot to like in this book. The characters were great, I liked how each one wanted the same kind of thing which was control of the nuclear weapons, but they all had different motivations for why they wanted them. I also liked hearing about the lives of the people in the Ukraine, this had to be a hard time to live through and Mary Mycio put a lot of detail in on their struggles. Mary really did her homework and it shows, she really made the early 90’s come alive.
My favorite part of Doing Bizness was the monks who lost their church and come to the conclusion that they are supposed to get a nuclear weapon to bring on the end of the world. I remember in the eighties, some religious people telling me that they believed that the end of the world will come because of a nuclear war and they stated that it was in the bible, so I could relate to the monks thinking that way. I also felt sorry for them when they lost their church and found that despite being men of god, some people in the Ukraine did not like them.
Another thing I really enjoyed about this book was how the author managed to put humor in the book despite it being a very serious topic. I found Doing Bizness: A Nuclear Thriller to be a fascinating read and I hope it gets more attention. It’s not a thriller in the traditional sense of the term, but it’s a good book and I will be looking forward to Mary Mycio’s next book.
Phoenix Earth: Season One is not your ordinary Science Fiction story. It is published by 7-11 press and is more of a TV series put into book form then a regular novel. The concept behind 7-11 press is to read their books in the time it takes to watch a movie. Phoenix Earth: Season One is divided up into 13 episodes with each episode being one chapter. Even when you look on 7-11’s website, it gives you a movie rating and an estimated reading time of 296 minutes. Seeing that Phoenix Earth was a novel that had a very original concept behind it, I was really excited to read it.
Phoenix Earth is set in the year 2582 but the story begins in 2012. The earth started to go through a series of catastrophic events and NASA formed a group of scientists whose mission was to preserve earth. The group was called the seeders, their mission failed but their technology was used to terraform Mars. Eventually Earth died and an airborne plague started to wipe out life on Mars. The colonists had no choice but to use a giant space ark to find a new home. They found a new planet named Malakar. The Malakarans were familiar with earthlings and let them make a home there.
Over time the Earthling’s seeder technology was used to save Malakar from the same fate that Earth suffered. The two species lived in peace for hundreds of years and through interbreeding started a new race called Maluans. Pure blooded Malakarans decided that they no longer wanted earthlings or Maluans on Malakar so they decided to force them off the planet. Phoenix Earth is the story of the Maluans and Earthling’s struggle to survive.
Phoenix Earth is an epic space opera that reminded me of the movie serials that were popular in the 1930’s and 40’s. There is a lot of action in this story, along with great characters and several exciting cliffhangers. The plot hits on a variety of subjects such as prejudice, politics and genocide. The story moves along like a freight train and doesn’t give you a chance to catch your breath.
I did enjoy this book but while the concept might have worked as a TV series, it didn’t work as well as a novel. In the beginning so many characters were getting introduced, I felt like I needed a program to keep them all straight. Also it seemed like there was too much going on in the story. This book was called season one but there was enough material here that you could have easily divided it into three seasons and given a lot more detail. For instance I would have liked to learn more about life on Malakar. I also wanted more time spent on the colonists getting their civilization set up on earth and I wanted to know more about the planet eaters and the Ascendants.
Despite my complaints about Phoenix Earth, I think this book is still worth your time. Reading the story does make you feel like your watching a movie. There are a lot of great ideas here, I just wanted a little more explanation behind everything and more time to get to know the characters . There is currently a season 2 available and I would really like to see where they take the story.