The Editor's Book Review

I haven't done any book reviews in a very long time, but I've been doing alot of reading ! I may do quick reviews of some of the others, but the L-O-N-G book reviews, where I recap much of the plot, are gone, because no one reads them anyways !

Empty Cities of The Full Moon

By Howard Hendrix

* Imagine that a spaceman falls into a manufactured warp and crashes on an alternative Earth where the most important discoveries of his Earth were aborted by a car accident. So, Instead of a nuclear war, something almost as awful is about to happen/happened.

This book is a split-time book that looks ahead from the beginning of the Event and at its results 30 years later. Much of this book describes biological and nanobiotech, and one almost needs a medical dictionary to understand what's going on. A working familiarity with Shamanism as a technology of Ectasy, is improtant to understand much of this book as well as the "Four "D"'s and two "S"'s" analogy: "Drumming, Dancing, Drugs, and Dreaming" and the two "S"s: Shapeshifting and Soul-flying".

There are scientists that believe that they can use prion based biotech to effect a cure for many mental illesses. There are also other interests like some Government alphabet soup agencies and a billionaire who thinks he can use germs to spread a "benevolent" virus that will do various things. Its not clear how the biotech works:

"VANG:;'yeast.., a fungus, the prion-like molecules Sup35p and Ure2p have prion-forming domains that seem to contain octapeptide repeats similar to those found in mammalian prion protein...'

"...Would it be possible to design an artifical prion-let's call it a prionio- which might be able to alter enzymes in say, the serotonin synthesis pathway..."

This kind of biotic nomenclature stuff will send you to the aformentioned medical dictionary to find out how real it is, but I'll try to simplify it ! What they're discussing is making an artificial "mad cow" like vector and making it into a method of transformation that bypasses pedantic tinkering with DNA. Can anyone guess the results of such "madness" - yep, it escapes, or is/was helped to escape by one or many of the aforesaid suspect parties. The results were symptoms of rhythmania or compulsional drumming, tarantism or dance fevers, then deep sleep and dreaming sickness, then were-transformation, soul flying, and finally Transcendance (death). A dabbler in Shamanism recognises the parallels and alerts various doctors. 30 years later, after the fall of Civilization due to a massive die-off due to this pandemic, the billionaire has a True-man retreat, guarded by altered merpeople, and the rest of the World are WERE-folk. We briefly find out about a future U.S. Theocracy by a song that mocks the the 'Christian States of America' politicos and the super-literal "Football Bible Warehouse Churches" (fictional)with this Busby Berkelyesk tune:

Don't be a druggie, Don't be Gay
Don't be what we do, do what we say
Don't you know only our way is true ?
And don't sass back when we're talking to you !

Don't be uppity ! Don't be Eco !
Don't act like a Jew or a liberal freako !
Don't you know only our way is true ?
And don't sass back when we're talking to you !

Its an interesting book, but the ending is odd ! You'll just have to read it yourself...

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