|by Jack L. Kennedy--
Do you ever feel worlds apart from someone? Or do you suspect those around you are from another planet at times?
Even those readers who may see science fiction as galaxies away from their preferred genre will find something appetizing in British author Jim Webster’s often deceptive, trim and terrifying tale, Justice 4.1 (Safkhet Publishing).
Space ships try to control the scene as good and bad guys battle it out for universal supremacy. Scientific sleuthing is thrown in as tinkering with the natural order of things abounds and politics plays at full blast.
As reported by the sciencechannel (#sci), the top 10 reasons we love sci-fi even though it's cheesy are: wonderful toys like the ray gun and time machine, vehicles that are the the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy often becoming personified, the advent of smart devices like artificial intelligence, the use of sometimes uncontrollable robots, aliens--or who are those guys anyway?, second star to the right locations, bad guys who are really bad, a somewhat optimistic future or the reverse: a dark future and the creation of a world in which characters can rise to the occasion and perform great acts.
One who is not a major devotee of sci-fi might be tempted to dismiss the entire literary channel as devoid of emotion, full of pseudo-scientific lingo as a cover up for wooden characterizations, plots too odd to be of interest, and pomposity substituting (or prostituting) for promise.
But, when one is transported to Webster’s universe, that is not the case, devoted readers and fans of fiction from a galaxy far, far away soon find out. Several elements not often found when one talks about other planets, let alone this one, are abundant in his creative printed universe from the time of launch: fueled by humor, frequent gastronomic delights, tight phrasing and careful crafting of even the most ordinary elements.
For an example of how the author expresses himself, a stop by the space crew at a somewhat wilted old tourist town somewhere in the past or the present is described as a place where “the accent is still on faded gentility rather than poverty and neglect.” In another spot, one defender of the faith “believes in justice, and is willing to bend the rules so that justice can happen.”
When turning a buck for profit or turning a page for public relations may seem more important to a publisher than finding an author who knows how to turn a phrase for an idea, such semantic steps as those Webster often takes are commendable.
A touch of theology mixes with technology. And seldom does a stop by the staff spaceship resume without the reference to a favorite food, be it yak or some stew.
My favorite part of the book (or to anyone who thinks that old journalists often are unappreciated) is one in which a space crew member/broadcast journalist stars in a heroic role. It is not often that journalists are seen as heroes, although as compromised ones.
There is a not-too-veiled genetic reference equating size with intelligence, which should open debate among readers of all forms of intelligence and persuasion. A key plot element involves the operation of a factory where genes are engineered or targeted so that only the best folks, by those in control, are produced. Want to find the perfect mate or combatant? This would seem to be the place to go.
Follow Haldar Drom, one of the main space saviors, head of the governor's investigative services, as he cleans up criminal scum. With him the Tsarina Sector Government launches Volume One of a series of books with just the right blend of blood, bullets, imagination and creativity.
In an e-mail interview, Englishman Jim Webster said he was born in Furness, on March 24, 1956, with a teacher for a mother and a farmer for a father. He was driving a tractor by age 8, is adept at dairy farming, and describes himself with tongue firmly in cheek as “a darkly mysterious character, wit and raconteur.”
Webster has been a press consultant to various groups, now living between the sea and English lake district. “Intelligence reports insist that he has a wife who still lives with him after nearly 30 years, and three daughters,” was his dry response. When asked for additional information, Webster offered a cyber shrug and declined.
“There are only so many times you can tell the world how wonderful you are,” he wrote in his best e-mail imitation, perhaps, in the wit of one of his driven, inventive Justice 4.1 characters.
The book should be consumed with a dash of humor and respect for writing, before an Unidentified Flying Object or government bureaucrat seeking genetic perfection can whisk it away.
Series: Tsarina Sector
Author: Jim Webster
Paperback: 156 pages, $10.61 on Amazon; 626 KB, 99-cents on Amazon
Publisher: Safkhet Fantasy (Feb. 27 and Mar. 1, 2014)