Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Review: Mind Over Psyche, by Karina Fabian

Some days, it feels like Karina Fabian is being reviewed on this blog every three months. It's not entirely accurate, but close enough for government work.  Especially government right now.

So, if you remember Mind Over Mind, you don't need much of an introduction.  If not....
Deryl isn’t crazy; he’s psychic.  Desperate to escape the insane asylum, Deryl  teleports to Kanaan, a world of telepaths who regard him as an oracle.  But freedom comes at a price.  The Kanaan expect their oracle to teach them to use their powers to wage war.  Meanwhile, he’s falling in love, but to be with her means to share his psyche, which could drive her insane.  Most dangerous of all, he hasn’t escaped the Call of the Master, enemy of the Kanaan, whose telepathic manipulations were why Deryl was committed in the first place.  Now, the Master will forge Deryl’s powers into a weapon to kill all he loves or destroy his mind trying.
First, I must say that I like this world she's created.  It's one of the most comprehensive scifi worlds I've seen in a while -- one of the better planet-as-character routine I've seen since Dune, and possibly one of the better Christian science fiction premises I've seen in print since C.S. Lewis penned Perelandra.  We've got flora, exotic fauna, aliens who mate for live, like wolves or Catholics, and did we mention that there's a war coming?

At the end of the day, one of the more interesting threats is Deryl himself.  Sorry, I've got a thing for where the hero is one's own worst enemy. And in his case, if he's not careful, he's going to develop psychokinetic abilities and level Tokyo....

Oh, wait, he already has telekinetic abilities.

Yes, everyone's in trouble.

We also have an interesting introduction to the Twilight Zone. Season 1 to be precise. Literally, there's a section narrated by Rod Serling. And it's quite awesome.  Not to mention that there's a large segment of the novel that looks like The Last Temptation of Christ meets The Prisoner.

The book can be broken down into three sections, so much so that they're almost like vignettes strung together.  First, there's the incident that precipitates the accidental teleportation to an alien world.  Next, we have the Oz effect -- as in "we ain't in Kansas no more" -- complete with your standard writing conflicts of man vs. nature, man vs. self, and a man vs. society, all to varying degrees along the way. Much of it is interesting, though there are moments you might want to take Deryl and smack some sense into him. The book's strengths lay in the exploration of the alien world via the two "sidekicks," Joshua (Deryl's friend/shrink in the last book), and Tasmae, the local alien contact.

Then, part three, we actually have man vs. man .... if "the man" in this case is an alien who can kill you with his brain and throw you into a nice, ready- made nightmare. So, fun.

I like the world, I like the characters ... though there are some scenes that were exceptionally drawn out. I liked The Prisoner as much as the next guy -- maybe more than the next guy -- but when we, the readers, already know what is and isn't real, hallucinations can get tedious.

Thankfully, by the end of the day Mind Over Psyche is the payoff we wanted from Mind Over Mind.  Round three should be interesting.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Declan! I'm so glad you enjoyed the book. Did you know I've never seen Last Temptation of Christ or The Prisoner? I'm tickled that parts of my book are reminiscent of well-known movies by accident. (Can't call LToC "great.") Guess it goes to show there are archetypes in the human psyche. Thanks for the great review and the giggle.


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