Friday, September 11, 2015

The Visitor - Brent Ayscough

The Visitor
Brent Ayscough
Black Opal Books, Jul 21 2015, $13.99
ISBN: 9781626943223

The Federation of Planets assign xeno-anthropologist Tak to study sentient life on earth in order to assess whether the prime species, as it ventures into space, poses a threat to peaceful races in the galaxy.  Following an off-planet preliminary analysis, she chooses the United States as her starting point due to this nation being the most technologically advanced on this orb.  Thus she learns English and descends towards the country’s center, Kansas.

However, on her first solo mission, Tak miscalculates America’s radar system.  Knowing she has been detected, Tak flees to Poland where she meets international arms merchant Baron Von Limbach.  He mentors her on all things earthling; while she accompanies him on his newest paying (by a wealthy patron encouraged by a true believer East Indian woman) gig: returning the Dalai Lama to Tibet by liberating the nation from the Chinese annexation.  To achieve his objective Von Limbach hires a Kazakhstan scientist to customize Ebola that will only attack Han Chinese.  His efforts convince Tak that this world is ruthlessly deadly while the CIA and DOD plan to capture and question her using enhanced interrogation techniques; unaware that failure of her to return to her space ship means global destruction.

Applying to terrorism and war by extrapolating the efforts to DNA-customize medicine yet also mindful of what happened with atomic energy; Brent Ayscough authors a fabulous cautionary science fiction in which the critical storyline comes across very plausible.  Adding depth to the thrilling plot is Tak’s world tour as she tastes, hears and sees some of the pluses on this strange in which war seems to be the prime conflict resolution technique. 

Harriet Klausner

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