Kindle Book Review: “Spectrum, A Sci Fi Thriller”

spectrumI just finished reading Aidan J. Reid’s new short story Spectrum, a Sci Fi Thriller (you can find out more about it at his blog).

While it advertises itself as a thriller, from the very first sentence, I got the feeling I was reading a horror story (spoiler alerts throughout–you have been warned). A mysterious medical outfit is offering the homeless money and opulent living conditions in exchange for them volunteering for human experimentation of different products.

We never learn out protagonist’s name. Just that she’s a 26-year-old homeless woman with an alcohol addition. Apparently she, along with others off the street, qualify as test subjects for rather ill-defined experiments, ill-defined until the “treatments” are actually applied.

The majority of the story is a set up to the actual procedure and aftermath on her eyes. From what she describes, the reader will have a fair idea of what was done with her, but to her, it was still a mystery.

I was engaged in the story to nearly the very end. Her eyes had been changed. True, she’d been alienated from most of the other patients except for Tyler, but she was hopeful not only that her sight was restored, but that the people who used her as a test animal, BioLuminary, were to actually give her a job, not requiring that she undergo any more medical procedures.

For her, everything seemed as if it were looking up. For the reader, we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.

And drop it does. In fact, it’s so abrupt that I was shocked right out of my involvement in the narrative. Wait a minute. What happened?

Only vague references to “reptiles” and the poor woman’s all too sudden suicide.

Aiden really had me going up to this point. By page count, I could tell the story was about to end, but it ended in a way that left several points completely unresolved.

What is BioLuminary? How do they get away with what are obviously illegal medical experiments on human beings? At the end of the story, her body is lying in the parking lot in front of the building. I don’t know about the UK where the story takes place, but in the US, the body would be taken into police custody and an autopsy would be performed. What BioLuminary did to her eyes would become apparent, and a thorough investigation would have been launched.

Her vision abilities, so promising, so tantalizing, were left unexplored. Ideally, this concept could have been taken much further. I know the suicide was intentional, but it also seemed a waste, not only of a human life, but of story potential. She could have gone much further in discovering what she could see, what she could learn, and then perhaps, find a way to blow the whistle on BioLuminary, freeing their hapless medical prisoners, or dying in the attempt.

I guess we’ll never know. This was written as a stand-alone short story, so the unresolved plot points will remain unresolved forever. Too bad.

The story “Spectrum” had me hooked for the first 33 of its total 35 pages. I loved the tremendous potential being built up page by page. Unfortunately, at least from this reader’s point of view, the rug was pulled out from under me. The 26-year-old patient is dead. There’s no one left to see that justice is done. There’s no one left to see anything at all.

The story is available from Amazon as a Kindle download for less than a dollar. In spite of my feelings about the ending, everything else leading up to it was top-notch. Maybe I’m wrong. Read “Spectrum” for yourself and write your own review.

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3 thoughts on “Kindle Book Review: “Spectrum, A Sci Fi Thriller”

  1. SPOILER ALERT! Thanks for the honest review! I always hesitate when explaining my motivation after the conclusion of a book, but perhaps in this case, it’s merited.

    The reptilian theme is something that a growing number of people are considering in the alternative media, namely led by controversial author and public speaker David Icke, who believes that just outside this band of light we call visible, are people among us that have this other worldly cellular structure. This might be more apparent to readers of sci-fi which is why I pinned it to that specific category. These reptilians include heads of state, royalty, political personas and Big Business execs. That inspired this idea. I also wanted the entire episode to be in a report format – diary and then the medical report at the end. Obviously that has certain limitations, but I wanted to make it look like the old school FBI ‘X-Files’ case folders, where someone internal could access the case study for future reference. INTERNAL USE ONLY.

    I also didn’t want to wrap things up in a nice bow for a reason. My intention was to leave the reader questioning what just happened, get them thinking about the possibilities – ‘Was she murdered? What did she see in the corner when the goggles were off? She received warning from one of the girls, that THEY were after her – who? Was Tyler in on the plot?’ What REALLY happened in that boardroom?’ I realise this may be a bit frustrating, but I’d rather provoke some emotion than none at all. It means I’ve done something right in the lead up which means that the reader cares, come the final page. But then again, maybe I got that wrong – all part of the learning process I guess.

    Because the dregs of society are summarily picked up and trialed for Big Pharma’s purposes, when they do go missing, there are no family/friends to chase up – all the more reason for Big Pharma to choose this type of person. In my mind, it would have been easy for the company to hush up the death of the woman, leaving the path clear for them to continue their trials. The dark suits/powers-that-be/reptilian entities would have dominion over more than just that company – being shareholders they would have stakes in other enterprises. Powerful men with a corrupt agenda.

    Anyway, I’ll stop there for now! This was a fun one to write and could very well form a novel in the future, if the response to the short story is strong enough. I’d love to revisit some of these characters and reveal more about what happens behind closed doors. Thanks once again for taking the time to write the review.

    Like

    • Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting on your story, Aidan. I have to say, especially with this additional explanation, that there’s a lot more to this story than what was written. It could have become a longer short story or maybe a novella. Maybe you’ll consider reworking it at some point. It has a great deal of unexplored potential.

      Liked by 1 person

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