Herbert's Dune meets Banks' The Player of Games in The Phantom of the Earth, a spellbinding science fiction epic set deep underground after the fall of civilization on Earth's surface.
Here are the five thought-provoking postapocalyptic stories that lovers of science fiction can't stop talking about, gathered together in one volume for the first time. The futuristic theories, conspiracies, political maneuvering, and characters within these visionary tales will stay with you long after you finish.
In the Great Commonwealth of Beimeni, a subterranean civilization in North America, expansion long ago gave way to peace and prosperity in the face of the history's most devastating plague. Immortality is the reward for service and loyalty in Beimeni, a place where the physical blends with the metaphysical and power consolidates in the hands of those with a genetic edge. The fissures first spread slowly, then swiftly, until now the Great Commonwealth finds itself on the brink of economic devastation, challenged by forces from within that know its secrets and its crimes.
At the center of the conflict lie the Selendias of Piscator, founders of the resistance with an uncanny connection to the zeropoint field; and the Barão Strike Team, three researchers tasked with finding a cure to the Reassortment Strain, the plague that nearly wiped humanity from the Earth. Traveling from the uninhabitable but pristine surface to the habitable but inhospitable underground, this is a story about dedication to dreams, battle for survival, discovery and connection, song and celebration, undoing past misdeeds, and sacrifice for the greater good.
©2015 Raeden Zen (P)2016 Podium Publishing
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"Space opera of subterranean proportions"
Raeden Zen's The Phantom of the Earth is a massive five book collection that delivers an epic space opera, oddly enough set underground. In some distant, but vague future, mankind has been forced underground due to contamination by a deadly, man-made infectious agent. Humanity has hacked its own genome, along with technological implants and upgrades to regard themselves as "transhuman," but living on the surface still eludes them. A complex society has evolved into a totalitarian state with an active resistance movement. In classical space opera fashion, there are dozens of characters with multiple plots from the overall big picture to the mundane.
The range of sci-fi elements is vast including genome hacking, artificial, designed organisms with specific properties (called "synisms"), alien life forms, access to and utilization of the "zero point field," as well as cryogenic preservation and even time travel. Along with the menagerie of science fiction, there are also well developed power struggles with a fledgling resistance movement and shifting alliances. The variety of characters is almost overwhelming and most are quite well developed.
John Lee's narration is simply outstanding,especially given the broad range of characters. For lovers of a straightforward plot, obvious conflicts, and satisfying resolutions, this may not be a good choice. On the other hand, for lovers of grand storytelling, this is a full course feast that covers all bases. One minor point: the listed description suggest five separate stories, but although this is five book collection, there is one overarching tale that proceeds in sequence. Also as a result, with each successive "book" there is a bit of rehashing as would be expected with separate offerings.
Note: At the end of book 5, there is a series of appendices that provide some explanations (such as the science underlying zero point fields) and background history in the societal evolution prior to book 1. Listening to those sections from the start may be regarded as a spoiler, but useful context can be quite helpful.
"Journey to the center of the Earth. ..Sort of"
I had a hard time finishing this book. I'm used to out of this world sci-fi epics, but this one was hard to follow. Explanations came late in the book, and it felt like some motivations for key characters and societal structures were nonexistent. As for the narater I like his voice acting in other productions, but some names became hard to understand and differentiate because of either pronunciation or accent. As I write this I'm still unsure if one of the main characters is "Baron" or "Barrow." I enjoyed the different aspects of genetics, material science, and quantum mechanics that the author brought forth. Not sure if I'll be listening to this anytime soon, but a second time might allow me to pick up on more of the story.
"Tedious, could not finish even with John Lee."
Raeden Zen (Can you say pretentious and completely made up name?) No. John Lee - absolutely.
John Lee is my favorite Narrator, but even he could not rescue this series.
John Lee was narrating.
It's rare a find a book I don't finish, but this is one of them. It's not horrible, but it could not hold my interest when something else more interesting came along. A lot of glossing over of the 'science' - I.E. the brief space travel sequences are laughable, this mysterious 'ZP field' is never really explained and seems rather outlandish, even for Sci-fi, etc.. You don't really get invested in the characters either, they all tend to be unlikable. A waste of John Lee's talent IMO, but at the same time is it's saving grace - I can't see actually reading this, John Lee's usual stellar performance is the only reason I stuck it out as long as I did.
Yes, the content is very entertaining with characters of substance and depth.
the British accent.
no, not really.
this is a great listen. I like Long mult-book stories. I like SCI FI this series had it all and its written well with a unique concept and take on the killer pandemic.
"Tedious and Disjointed"
A little more care in bringing the reader into the background of the story. This author has taken the let-the-reader-figure-things-out-along-the-way trick too far. It is not fun to feel like you've jumped into the middle of a conversation. This is a complex series of intertwined stories, with a lot going on, and much unexplained. Also, it would be nice to have an actual story line that goes from one point to another; where something of consequence happens once in a while.
Add context and give a little more background before launching into jargon-filled abstract references to events, people, and basic story elements.
I would prefer far fewer characters sound like they are constantly sneering and showing derision.
Dunno. They all run together because they are all so one-dimensional. With so many characters who act the same and who have similar-sounding names, I honestly could not follow who was doing what. After a while, I just didn't care any more.
This would be a good audiobook if you just want some sound in the background. You can miss long bits of this and not worry about missing anything of value.
Great narration, interesting characters complete with flaws, a great premise, and enough mystery to keep my interest. One of the best sci-fi stories I have listened to in awhile.
excellent. theory and a classic siFi. .very lgood performance adventure and science at its best
"Good but wanders..."
Lots of fascinating concepts but characters are shallow, with arbitrary powers and limitations. Slightly tedious.
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