A story that’s thrillingly original and cleverly ingenious and will enthrall fans of finely constructed SF...
Weird things are happening with Dungsten Crease—he has resurrected his neighbor’s dog, is arrested by TSA for carrying a weapon which never existed, and drowned a woman at an airline ticket counter—all in the course of a day. Trying to escape his strange predicament, Dungsten locks himself in the men’s room of a coffee shop but finds himself face to face with a lanky stranger who claims to be Dungsten’s neurally implanted concierge unit. According to the stranger, Dungsten is a shaper—an obsolete, genetically programmed tool created by a bankrupt galactic corporation to terraform planetary experiences for vacationing clients. With government agents trying to weaponize him and Galactic Business Council assassins on his tail to terminate him, Dungsten must find a way to survive while trying to deal with his own bifurcation—a process that drives the Shaper within to inadvertently bifurcate, with a second Dungsten coming alive at the same time. Hacker employs lively, witty prose to construct an elaborate futuristic world inhabited by diverse set of humans and aliens, which is way advanced than ours, but the individual struggles, dirty politics, race and class disparity, corruption, and the lust for power and wealth that dictate individual actions are the very much same as ours. Meanwhile, the entertaining storytelling and thorough worldbuilding allow readers to truly enter this imagined world. Hacker uses familiar pieces such as ultra-futuristic setting, space-age weaponry, a righteous protagonist struggling to survive, a sinister set of antagonists on a single-minded quest for control among others to transcend space-opera conventions in imaginative ways. Interplanetary and interdimensional travel, fascinating, vividly imagined various planetary species, including aliens, avians, slug worms, three-headed, fire-breathing reptiles, and the cat-and-mouse game between the two Dungsten and the government agents and the Galactic Business Council assassins add rich texture throughout. Dungsten, with his fears, vulnerabilities, and honest gullibility make for a protagonist reader will love to invest in. Kate is endearing all the way through. Sam and Ashanti are equally convincing. Sandarian Megaleez shines as the malevolent villain. The plot unravels at a measured pace, and Hacker’s immersive storytelling keeps readers turning pages. Hacker balances the increasingly entangled lives of Dungsten one and two with Dungsten’s blooming romance with Kate. Readers will be both captivated and entertained by this original, ingenious tale of hard SF.
The Bifurcation of Dungsten Crease
by Richard Hacker
Del Sol Press
Pub Date March 15, 2021
Price $1.00 (USD) Kindle edition
Categories: Science Fiction