Simon Vector by Jak Holding

Simon Vector by Jak Holding

  • novel
  • thriller
  • horror/suspense
  • survival
  • science fiction
  • futuristic
  • intergalactic conflict





Simon Vector starts like a thriller, a sort of light sci-fi mystery novel set in the future of human kind. Things start through the strange notes of a Dr. Thaddeus Kong describing events that have unfolded across time. Then the focus changes to Lucius Feen and his not particularly nice time at the advanced I.S.I.S. prison Alpha Draconis.

The story is interspaced with current events, following many of the characters we can find within the prison, and those set in the past. We are presented to the things that happened through the notes and ramblings of Dr. Kong as if read by a third party, and through flashbacks of the other important inhabitants of Planetoid M71, on low orbit around Harvest Moon.

Since the beginning there is a dark tone to the narrative. The depressive environment, the resignation that most of the characters show to their current fate, in particular Feen who feels as much a prisoner as the inmates. It is no wonder that most of the time he is on autopilot, thinking, analysing his current situation, attempting to detach himself of his surroundings, focus on the task at hand. This self centred state makes him easy target for... surprises.

During the first third of the novel Simon Vector is just a mystery. An assumed dead and/or missing in action survivor from a terrible intergalactic war where humanity almost lost everything, one in which, it is said, Vector was on the side of the enemy, a traitor. Although not everyone, nor all facts, point in that direction. What everyone agrees with is that the enemy changed Simon, made him different, made him in their own image. Then, he disappeared.

While reading Jak Holding's suspense/horror, survival, dark sci-fi thriller I was reminded of movies like Virus (1999, with Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Sutherland), Saturn 3 (1980, with Farrah Fawcett, Kirk Douglas and Harvey Keitel) and even a little of Event Horizon (1997, with Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill and Kathleen Quinlan). Of games like Dead Space and Doom III. The novel contains a lot of visual and contextual elements that feel, and seem, common among these films and games, there is something in their essence that they all share.

For a good part of the novel the focus of the adventure is Feen but it doesn't take too long for him to become nothing else but the missing link in a chain of events that were, inevitably, waiting to happen. In his explorations of the innermost levels of Alpha Draconis, as he attempts to hide from the unwanted reality that surrounds him, he bumps into something. A secret not meant to be found.

Dr. Thaddeus Kong provides a short and quick glimpse at the invading forces that the human fleet faced three decades ago. Called the Harvesters by those being invaded, known as the Vendak to themselves. Although it certainly is not a requirement, I believe that to be able to create a better mental picture of what happens during the other 2/3 of the novel having watched the movie Virus helps. This, of course, if there is a want for a more clear picture of what takes place (something not recommended for those easy to impress or with too graphical imaginations).

Jak Holding does a great job at describing the setting and the different characters, in particular those that will later have their own stories in which to be the protagonists (there is a set of four Novellas already in preparation that complement the world, that expand the story without being required to understand it; they are stand-alone expansions as the term would go in the electronic entertainment industry). We get to know how they are, what drives them, what makes them and, in most cases, what brought them to Alpha Draconis, be it as inmates or not.

The flow of the story is good, so is the action and the description of the environments, the fights, the horror, and what little is there of science. The whole setting, the world, the Universe of Simon Vector is rough, scary and macabre in a very ghoulish way. Vector himself is one of those modern anti-heroes that have to live and act thinking of the big picture. The moment, the few, the individual matters little to him, if at all.

Jak Holding presents us with a darker universe in which an unprepared humanity is reaching for the stars. Simon Vector is the hero that can protect them, the weapon that will defend them. But he has changed, he has faced something no one can imagine, he has survived the unthinkable. He will save humanity, by eliminating the menace or by not letting them go through what he has.

Simon Vector by Jak Holding

Teclado EZ-Reach 2030 por TypeMatrix.

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