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Official Review: Ten Directions by Samuel Winburn

Posted: 19 Jan 2018, 04:29
by ButterscotchCherrie
[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Ten Directions" by Samuel Winburn.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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With moments left to live, a scientist named d'Jang composes a message to help others avoid his planet's mistake. He provides instructions on how to construct a channel through space, but warns that this will cause a black hole like the one that's about to swallow him.

So begins Ten Directions, a science fiction novel by Samuel Winburn. It is set in the twenty-second century where a new world order based on ecological rebalancing and repair is prevailing over the old forces of capitalism and socialism. Advanced technologies include access to information through neurovisors that provide a third eye in the forehead. It's possible to leave the degraded Earth behind and travel to other planets. The book examines whether this progress has brought happiness. In that connection, it explores the purpose of human life and the perils of pushing the limits too far.

The story is told from the rotating points of view of the characters. Eleven-headed d'Jang has only one chapter because he is bound for a black hole. We travel from there to the Moon, where exiled Mirtopik Com CEO August Bridges is on the verge of insanity and despair, grieving for lost relationships. His distance from Earth is causing Proximity Malaise Syndrome (PMS). This is also afflicting scientist Aurora, who is straining at the limits of her mission to find life on Mars before August's development plans destroy it.

She sends an anguished message to her friend Kalsang on Triton. As a Buddhist monk, he is one of a select few with immunity to PMS. While meditating, he sees and feels the demise of d'Jang's kind. Afterwards, he cannot forget them. The transmission is also picked up by August's assistant, a Machiavellian clone named Calvin30. While he's all too happy to relay the wormhole-building instructions to August, he strips away the warning about the black hole. To prevent the truth from being revealed, he must also kill off Kalsang at long range. Francesca, a Mirtopik security guard, is becoming wise to Calvin30's tricks. Her admiration for August could well prompt her to emulate her beloved superheroes. The launch of August's wormhole project triggers quite a trek around the Solar System.

The scope of the author's imagination was impressive. I loved reading about his clever ideas for future technology. He includes many details like the appearance of the night sky from Mars and what happens to hair, boobs, and vomit in low gravity. I welcomed the strong female characters, though the male ones had more dimensions. Despite many passages devoted to their dreams, hallucinations, and so on, I sometimes felt distant from the characters. This may be partly due to the third-person narration, but that's a practical choice given how often they face death. I enjoyed the lively dialogue and sprinkling of humour. This is an example from an exchange with an electronic device: “I do not understand what-the-hell. Would you like me to perform a search for what-the-hell?”

The writing style was vivid, the chronology was well-handled, and tension was generally sustained enough to make for a compelling story. A glossary explained the many coinages and other terms. With regard to the aspects I liked less, points were sometimes laboured. The book is quite lengthy and parts could be condensed or trimmed. Some aspects of the characters' development felt tacked on. I also found several punctuation, spelling, and grammatical errors. Weighing up the stronger and weaker points, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars.

I'd recommend this to science fiction fans. It stands out from the crowd due to Kalsang's Buddhist outlook. His equanimity, kindness, and compassion are inspiring. Therefore, those who would like to see a spiritually evolved person in action might also enjoy this book. This book is for you if you are looking for an engrossing tale that really sucks you in (no pun intended). It may appeal less if you're looking for a quick read or if you don't enjoy seeing characters' mental landscapes in detail.

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Admin Note: Even though the review was good, this book has actually been edited and improved since the review.
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Ten Directions
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Re: Official Review: Ten Directions by Samuel Winburn

Posted: 23 Jan 2018, 03:49
by Darakhshan Nazir
I am a huge fan of fictional books. And this one seems appealing.
Great review!!

Re: Official Review: Ten Directions by Samuel Winburn

Posted: 23 Jan 2018, 04:46
by ButterscotchCherrie
Darakhshan Nazir wrote:
23 Jan 2018, 03:49
I am a huge fan of fictional books. And this one seems appealing.
Great review!!
I recommend this one for the imagination and world-building. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Re: Official Review: Ten Directions by Samuel Winburn

Posted: 23 Jan 2018, 08:20
by kandscreeley
I enjoy science fiction books, but this one almost sounds confusing to me. I think sometimes you just have to delve in and see what you get. I'm glad you enjoyed it; I'll consider it for future reading (if I ever get room on my to read list.) Thanks for the great information!

Re: Official Review: Ten Directions by Samuel Winburn

Posted: 23 Jan 2018, 08:24
by ButterscotchCherrie
kandscreeley wrote:
23 Jan 2018, 08:20
I enjoy science fiction books, but this one almost sounds confusing to me. I think sometimes you just have to delve in and see what you get. I'm glad you enjoyed it; I'll consider it for future reading (if I ever get room on my to read list.) Thanks for the great information!
Yes, it is rather long and complex, though I did get into it and enjoy the texture. Thanks for your reply!

Re: Official Review: Ten Directions by Samuel Winburn

Posted: 23 Jan 2018, 12:00
by Cotwani
The premise sounds amazing. It's a shame about the lengthy parts and grammatical errors. I hope to read it.

Re: Official Review: Ten Directions by Samuel Winburn

Posted: 23 Jan 2018, 12:14
by ButterscotchCherrie
Cotwani wrote:
23 Jan 2018, 12:00
The premise sounds amazing. It's a shame about the lengthy parts and grammatical errors. I hope to read it.
It is a good book! Thanks for your reply.

Re: Official Review: Ten Directions by Samuel Winburn

Posted: 23 Jan 2018, 23:59
by inaramid
I find the number of details quite intimidating! But it's also admirable at the same time. You can sort of tell that the author put much thought into the worldbuilding aspect of it. With improvements in the editing, this could be a sci-fi fan's dream.

Re: Official Review: Ten Directions by Samuel Winburn

Posted: 24 Jan 2018, 01:23
by ButterscotchCherrie
inaramid wrote:
23 Jan 2018, 23:59
I find the number of details quite intimidating! But it's also admirable at the same time. You can sort of tell that the author put much thought into the worldbuilding aspect of it. With improvements in the editing, this could be a sci-fi fan's dream.
It is quite dense, but yes, vividly imagined. I hope I didn't give the impression that it's confusing because it's always clear what's happening and where it's going. It's definitely something you can get immersed in. Thanks for your reply!

Re: Official Review: Ten Directions by Samuel Winburn

Posted: 24 Jan 2018, 11:56
by Sarah Tariq
The story portrays a quite horrible picture of our planet in twenty - second century.
😢. Science fiction lovers would admire it. Thanks.

Re: Official Review: Ten Directions by Samuel Winburn

Posted: 24 Jan 2018, 12:25
by Kieran_Obrien
Like Interstellar and many stories preceding it, I've often found myself daydreaming about the future of our planet. It seems wrong to leave our planet behind without first solving all the problems we've caused. The fact that this book address the happiness gained or lost through technological progress is fascinating and I think I'll add it to my list!

Re: Official Review: Ten Directions by Samuel Winburn

Posted: 24 Jan 2018, 12:38
by ButterscotchCherrie
Sarah Tariq wrote:
24 Jan 2018, 11:56
The story portrays a quite horrible picture of our planet in twenty - second century.
😢. Science fiction lovers would admire it. Thanks.
Yes, the book portrays a planet that seems to be on its last legs for all the ecological balancing attempts and amazing technology. The trouble is we could be going there. Thanks for your reply!

Re: Official Review: Ten Directions by Samuel Winburn

Posted: 24 Jan 2018, 12:44
by ButterscotchCherrie
Kieran_Obrien wrote:
24 Jan 2018, 12:25
Like Interstellar and many stories preceding it, I've often found myself daydreaming about the future of our planet. It seems wrong to leave our planet behind without first solving all the problems we've caused. The fact that this book address the happiness gained or lost through technological progress is fascinating and I think I'll add it to my list!
Yes, the book is a real mix of amazing technological advancement on the one hand and the persistent dissatisfaction of humans (and some aliens) on the other. Hope you enjoy Ten Directions, thanks for your reply, and welcome to the forum!

Re: Official Review: Ten Directions by Samuel Winburn

Posted: 24 Jan 2018, 14:38
by CommMayo
It sounds like the author paints a world that the reader can really get sucked into completely. Thanks for sharing your review!

Re: Official Review: Ten Directions by Samuel Winburn

Posted: 24 Jan 2018, 15:35
by ButterscotchCherrie
CommMayo wrote:
24 Jan 2018, 14:38
It sounds like the author paints a world that the reader can really get sucked into completely. Thanks for sharing your review!
It's very vivid, yes. Thanks for your reply.