Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author, Michael Duda, for an honest review.
Genre: Short Stories/Science Fiction
Plot: Aliens exist everywhere. They are android. They hide within the mind. They live on other planets. And they can even travel the universe using technology far beyond our understanding.
Markey VI, an android on an orbiting space station, assists an artificial intelligence. David, the A.I., ponders the question of humanity’s fate. The ultimate question is, “Should life be returned to Earth?” The answer is known as the Singular Conclusion. But the answer’s impact reaches far deeper into Markey VI’s electronic components and programmed logic than could be anticipated. And the android’s final moments bring it closer to humanity itself.
David Grayson volunteered for a project called, ‘Threading.’ Unfortunately, Threading slowly alters David’s mind. And it affects the other two subjects. But in what way? After the final test goes wrong, David unleashes a powerful ability capable of distorting time.
Shiran accuses Abian of murdering her husband. She claims that Abian tells lies about the events leading to the death. She also keeps a secret that could reveal the truth. When Abian uncovers Shiran’s secret, Shiran discovers that there is more to her simple village life than she first believed.
It’s a futuristic version of 1930s Chicago. Named Chicago VI, the shielded space city exists somewhere at the far edge of the Oberon Galaxy. And all space cities connect by jump trains, faster-than-light machines. Bobby and his dog, Mister Pleats, barely make ends meet at Chicago VI’s jump train station. But when Bobby meets an alien Xenoarchaeologist, he’ll discover that there’s more possibilities in the galaxy than shining shoes.
The Sound of Blue takes you on four journeys of alien discovery. A journey just out of atmospheric reach. To a mysterious planet and at the far end of a galaxy. And into the mind where superhuman powers wait to be untapped.
“In a galaxy so vast, what really is home?”
You’d think that after reading my fifth book by Michael Duda, I’d cease to be amazed at how his mind works.
But alas, here I am.
Still dumbfounded and astounded by his brain.
Michael Duda is able to take the most mundane facts that we know as humans, about our society and ourselves, and reshape them into poetic tales of beauty and darkness. He is able to transport the reader into future and sideways dimensional settings that exude immense wonder and deep horrors. I am always left feeling nostalgic and unhinged by Duda’s writings. It’s like he has dipped his fingers into my brain, found the innocence and fears, and gingerly extracted them and wove them onto paper.
Now if you have an unhealthy addiction to science fiction that can both excite and terrify you, then you will love this collection of short stories.
The first is called The Sound of Blue. Immediately the reader is skyrocketed into the ever-popular idea (or probability) that Artificial Intelligence and robots will take over the world, eradicating humankind from existence. This story follows dialogue between David, an A.I., and Markey VI, an android. David is attempting to discern if humans will be able to return to Earth, while also delving into the idea of what it means to be human.
It is a quick story, but one that made me pause after reading to reflect on what it means to be human. As per usual, Duda started this book off with a bang that immediately had a sense of anxious wonder creeping inside me. It is the most sorrowful and delicate of these four stories, and one I could imagine being a closing scene for an epic sci-fi movie.
The second short story is Last of Lasts and immediately reminded me of the Netflix show Maniac. It is about three people who are in dire need of money, so they agree to participate in a series of experiments. The story is told through the eyes of David as he is thrust back into another test of the “threading”; one that puts the other two subject’s lives at risk as the scientists look for a specific outcome. It is one of the longer stories, but one that will keep you hooked as you try to figure out what the hell is going on. It is also probably the most fantastical of the bunch, but as always, one that has legs and could easily be turned into a full series.
The third story is Waking from an Eternal Sleep. The inhabitants of a village look to those called the Unmarked Ones for guidance and insight into events and their lives. But when Shiran’s husband is suddenly killed by a fellow villager named Abian, she demands to know why and that he be put to death. But the reasoning behind her husband’s death is much bigger than what she could ever fathom. Naturally, in Duda form, I am left wanting more and MORE of this tale. ALWAYS with the cliffhangers…
The fourth short story is Jump Trains and Simultaneity and my favorite kind of science fiction fable! It is set in an old-timey futuristic world that can only be described as the 1930s meets Cyberpunk 2077. If you are like me and are obsessed with Sci-fi like Altered Carbon, Blade Runner or Mute, then you will without a doubt love this. Bobby lives in one of the many cities called space cities, which are connected by jump trains. He is a homeless and sweet kid working as a shoe shiner, until he meets Theodore Rattletrap, an alien who studies extraterrestrial cultures.
THIS short story is the one I NEED to be turned into a full novel, then a Netflix show. It is phenomenal and fantastical, and the one that threw my imagination into overdrive. I couldn’t help but be completely invested in Bobby’s well-being, because he is a genuinely innocent character. Duda ensured that I had a decent level of skepticism for Theodore Rattletrap the entire time, and even now, I’m not too sure about him. This is by far my favorite story of the collection.
Unsurprisingly, I am obsessed with this new book by Michael Duda.
I have been hounding him for some time now to please write a novel before I wither away into dust and fly off into the wind, and he is! But in the meantime, I highly suggest you guys read Stars in the Winter Sky, and a few of his other short story collections under his other pen name M. Duda: Bedtime for Seneca, A Cat Will Play, Deny the Father.