I give this 4 stars. An absorbing, wonderful collection of short stories that takes you into an alternative time and place and yet, you think, the situations could so easily apply to our everyday lives - if it isn't happening already! The best part for me was the author's writing style - simple and elegant, it commands your attention easily and there is absolutely no need to read things twice or thrice to make sure you understood.
Galactic Energies opens up with Rewind and I'm intrigued from the very beginning, wondering why the protagonist is so enchanted by the actress. From rags to riches combined with an extraordinary run of good luck, I follow the protagonist's progress over the years, how he and his partner, Alessio, apply their business acumen in the heart of Europe, coping and planning against corruption which is pretty much the angst of nearly all ordinary citizens living in Europe. The author relays the frustration of the people well and I found myself cheering on the protagonist. The ending was a surprise, albeit a good one, in form with the sci-fi theme. This was my favourite story from the entire collection and I would give it a 5.
The Kingdom of Turlis started well and once again, Lucas Rossi has a wonderful, engaging style and I kept turning the pages to find out what would happen. The story wanders into the realms of fantasy and while interesting, it's also where the frustration begins because there is not enough background on the characters. I understand it is a short story and even though there is a conclusion, I felt unsatisfied. 4.
Life in Prison was the most interesting, absorbing and frustrating story in this entire collection. At the end of this story, I felt robbed of any proper explanation as to why the main character ended up in prison. I felt the author should have taken the time to explain or given some clues, and the reasoning that a futuristic society could deny telling a person why they are in prison is rather hard to swallow. True, there were obstacles in the way but, even at the end, some sort of explanation would have been nice. It left me very frustrated and because of this, my rating dropped to 3.
Forms of Love was absorbing and it was amusing to read about the alien female attempting to seduce the hard, unshakable detective who had been chasing her throughout the galaxy for many years. I didn't like the ending however; I didn’t think it was necessary that the detective found it necessary to do what he did, particularly where there was another, easier solution that could have guaranteed a happy life for him. But that may be due to the title of the story - perhaps it was a form of love indeed. It just defied logic to me. 4
Latrodactus Mactans was an excellent idea for a video game and oh boy, if someone could really create something like that, then I foresee major protests regarding animal, moral, and religious issues. 5 for ingenuity, but despite the cool idea, I found this the hardest to read. Also, I was also left a little confused at the ending and I'm not sure if it was deliberate. I get that the character got stuck in an endless loop caused by hackers but then it ended with two spiders approaching and I wondered ... who were the spiders? 3.5 stars.
Arcot and the Queen was okay for me. While the writing is engaging and the story is not boring, it was the most normal one for me, despite it being about vampires. 3.5
The Perfect Family is set in a futuristic society where robots have begun to replace men as the perfect husbands and fathers. However, there is a catch. What happens when perfection takes a hold of family life and what does it mean for the substituted sex? 5 stars.
Maciste - when I think of what happened to poor Maciste, I get angry. A sad tale and not enough payback I think. But other readers may think otherwise and that Maciste was sufficiently rewarded. 4.5
Clouded Emotions is another well written, absorbing story and a little longer than the usual short story I think. But that worked to its benefit and while the concept is not new, it had enough twists and turns to keep me guessing. It still had the kind of ending I didn't like though but not too bad. I can sort of imagine what happened to the characters so it wasn't a complete hanger. 4.5
I've not yet looked at the interactive story but I plan to do that shortly. Overall, I really enjoyed Galactic Energies and it has been a while since I've come across a writer with a simple yet engaging style. Lucas Rossi could make a terrible story into a best selling novel just with his distinctive style. I would never say no to reading any of his work.
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