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Posted November 15, 2006
Journey to the Center of the... Universe!
During a rescue of Luke Skywalker in the film ¿The Empire Strikes Back,¿ the viewer is treated to a cockpit view from the ¿snow speeder¿ craft as the searchers swoop close to ridges and plunge sharply into deep valleys. The first time I saw that scene, it made my stomach jump. I was surprised that images could cause such a physical effect. Ted Magnuson brought me to a similar reaction with mere words the exhilarating action he packed between the covers of THE MOSES PROBE. This story takes place in 2112. Protagonist Jac Flyte eagerly prepares for his mission to Alpha Centauri, made possible by the recent invention of faster-than-light travel. An old fiancé, Dr. Cheryl Bellini, pulls him away from that exercise for the opportunity to travel instantaneously to the center of the universe. Predictably, this sets up the romance component of the novel, but it doesn¿t travel too far down that trail before snapping back into action. Together they travel to the planet Protos¿aboard biotechnical marvels built according to the instructions found within the ¿Moses Probe,¿ a capsule sent to Earth from Protos 25 years earlier. While Earth a century from now retains much of what is familiar (the author¿s vision is anything but ridiculous), the Protoans are highly advanced and speak in unfamiliar terms. Like several of the advanced life-forms one might expect to encounter in ¿Star Trek,¿ the universe is the territory of the Protoans, both physically and spiritually. Suddenly our planet seems small and inconsequential. Magnuson includes a helpful glossary in the back of the book for the alien words, but I found it easy to discern their meaning from the context. This book is loaded with battles between good and evil, with mystery and deception, and imagery fit for the silver screen. It may take you most of the book to decide which is ¿good¿ and which is ¿evil.¿ The plot is complicated, including some minor items that don¿t seem necessary, yet it races along beginning to end¿and like any well-told story, leaves us with questions to ponder. I¿ll have to read this one again! Five stars for THE MOSES PROBE. -Byron C. Justice, author of ¿Violent Night¿
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