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Archeons #1

Dangerous Thoughts

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Their planet was ripped apart from under their feet. When Deka and Kylac wake up, they discover Archeons are dead, and the portals have closed without warning, leaving hundreds of planets without links to other worlds.

Rel’s destruction touched every planet in the contacted universe. Without the portals, entire civilizations hang in the balance, and Deka and Kylac are the only two who can make spacetime spheres. The raptor and the fox travel from world to world, repairing the damage the disaster caused, preventing civilization from collapsing.

Floating islands drifting through the toxic atmosphere of a gas giant—offworlders are stranded there, just barely clinging to life. A planet of raised platforms made of growing rock that elevate the people above the flammable algae on the surface—everything is falling apart, and where are the people? A world of giant insects—researchers have gone missing, and they have been injected with mind-altering venom. A planet of salamanders and birdlike reptiles who relied on portals for food—facing starvation, the reptiles revert to hunting the salamanders.

What could have destroyed an entire planet?

What could have reached across the light years to kill so many Archeons at the same time?

Did anyone else survive?

372 pages, Paperback

First published May 17, 2018

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About the author

James L. Steele

31 books65 followers
James L. Steele has been published in various anthologies and magazines, including: Solarcide, Allasso, Different Worlds, Different Skins: V.2, Tall Tales with Short Cocks V.2, Bourbon Penn, Gods with Fur, Claw the Way to Victory, and Fictionvale.

The Archeons series, his sci-fi novels featuring nonhuman characters, is published through KTM Publishing.

He lives in Ohio, where he pursues his hobby of becoming a wine connoisseur while having between two and six existential crises per day.

Blog: https://daydreamingintext.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @JLSteeleAuthor

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Displaying 1 - 3 of 3 reviews
Profile Image for Fluffy.
1 review
July 25, 2018
It took me several weeks to read this book. I did so slowly, a little bit each day. I wanted to absorb this book in its completeness, and not miss anything. I have spoken to the author in the past. (I have read many of his books). I knew this universe was created by 2 younger people as they role played their hopes and dreams in the early 90's. This testament to the authors adventures as a young person honors everyone's inner child and sense of hope and wonder. Reading this book helped bring me back to a time where I existed in a world of my own imagination.

James Steele has created a universe where life runs rampant, ideals like peace, harmony and acceptance is the rule of the land. And I do mean "land" in the traditional sense. Yes, the book takes place across the universe, on many different planets. But distance is irrelevant. Quantum physics are fully understood and people are able to travel from one part of the planet to anohter, and from one planet to another by simply walking.

As best as I could tell, Steele presented us a "world" where everyone is created equal. Male, female, race and shape are are irrelevant. Each planet that supports life has at least two intelligent races. Once upon a time, one would be the hunters, the other, the hunted. When each race realized the other was intelligent, thier differences were put aside, and they become partners and learned from each other and were able to evolve. (What about us humans? There is only one race of intelligence)

Steele has a very intense Darwinian approach to this book. He talks about biology in a manner I find refreshing. The part I enjoyed the most was when the value of sex was discussed. He brings up convergent and divergent evolution and how having similar ancestors in our respective pasts, gives us a basis for communication in the here and now. One particular scene has delighted me for a while.When one of our heroes encountered a new alien, with no prior knowledge of, he sent out his pheromones and attempted to seduce said alien. Much to the aliens chain, said alien was seduced. All the bits and pieces were where they needed to be for everything to work. This meant that the two worlds were socially, and mentally compatible.

AS I was reading this book, I came up with a lot of basic questions. Is there any crime? What is the level of technology? I have seen nothing about religion. Is there any? As I progressed into the book, I realized there were many clues in the book about where things were going. I will not give any spoilers. I will say this. Space (distance) has become irrelevant. The powers of the mind have become quite pronounced and can alter the fabric of the universe its self. I found myself preoccupied with trying to figure out the answer to one question. If the mind has become so powerful, what else can it do...What would happen if this was taught to an earthling?

When I finished reading this book, I wanted to cry. Yes, I did express grief for the protagonists. But, that was not the point. James Steele wrote a book two people who tried to bring the universe back together at whatever cost to themselves. I have read many of his books, and each one is a light unto the world. Each one shows me a different way to become a better human. I bought a second book and give it to a close friend. My hope is that he will send a copy to someone who he thinks could use a whole nova blast of light.

Oh, I forgot to mention that this book is full of humor and is incredibly entertaining. I eagerly await the second and third book.
Profile Image for Frank LeRenard.
Author 4 books2 followers
March 23, 2022
(Note, for disclosure: I am acquainted with the author, but I purchased this book of my own accord and was not asked to write a review.)

This book felt like a great work of imagination. It spans a huge variety of settings (one per chapter), each of which is vastly different than the last. But it is also held together by many similarities in each one, and by a fair amount of repetition. The book is, in large part, composed of the two protagonists going to a world, followed by a brief explanation of said world and its intelligent inhabitants, followed by the protagonists' efforts to control the damage done to the world by the crisis that sets off the story (albeit sometimes not precisely in that order), with their overarching goal being to find other surviving members of their species and to discover what caused the crisis in the first place. The dialogue, as well, shows little variation, as most of the characters speak in similar ways. Most of the effort is focused on the technical---how each species co-evolved, how this affected their development as intelligent beings, how they interact with their peculiar worlds with their varied bodies and senses---and the philosophical. Only toward the end does this formula change appreciably, when there is an appropriate escalation toward a climax.

It worked fine for me, but, I admit, less as a story and more for the intellectual exercises it offered. Its philosophy is heavily reinforced by the aforementioned repetition. That said, it isn't emotionless; the protagonists both continuously struggle with their roles as saviors of the universe, and with damage that the inciting crisis inflicted on their minds and therefore their abilities to deal with everyone's problems. They have personal struggles as well---lost friends, lovers, being witness to untold devastation, struggling against their innate instincts at times. So there is a lot here, and it's well-told when it occurs. Reading the entire book also put me into a headspace in which the alien began to seem perfectly normal, an effect I have to assume was intended.

It is hard to know who to recommend this book to. I suspect the average reader will be put off by said alienness, and the protagonists' explicit sexuality, and all sorts of other things that are mostly impossible to find in more mainstream fiction. The repetition in the narrative might also become boring for certain kinds of readers. But I suppose the average reader is really who should be giving it a try, something more or less explicitly commented on in the manuscript itself at one point. In any case, I bought the whole series as a collected e-book, so I will be reading the rest over time.
November 24, 2022
Delightfully disturbing. This is an extremely imaginative work. The worldbuilding is constant, bold, and surreal. It's nonsense at points, but it's interesting nonsense. It conveys a good sense of alienness. I'm not sure what I can say without spoiling. There were details about the setting which I suspected that built up through the novel making some of the worldbuilding itself into a spoiler.

The structure of the story is probably a fair warning thing. The chapters are disjoint. They're in chronological order, but most of them read like linked short stories, each one of which focuses on a different world and its resident species. I think the structure is fascinating. I have difficulty writing timeskips, but these stories conveyed the passage of time quite ably by alluding to other events in between the written portions.

I feel like I haven't written a very good review, but I can at least say that I'm so excited to keep reading. I've already ordered the next books in the series.
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