2 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
A long time ago out in a galaxy far away lived a planet called Phoebious. The Phoebians were different in that they consumed sustenance by breathing in the air as well as excreting back into the air; surprisingly both men and women could give birth. Another difference was that everyone could communicate telepathically, but a few could also communicate verbally. As time evolved, the Phoebians divided into two groups: Theocrats and Technocrats. There was a silent and intense battle between these two groups. The Theocrats’ primary purpose was to keep religion alive in all aspects of life. The Technocrats weeded out religion in science and focused purely on gaining knowledge. Ultimately, Phoebious was destroyed. Phoebians prepared for this day of reckoning by fleeing their native planet on Mother Ships to find other planets for a new home. Earth was one of the two planets that was found. Is it possible that the Phoebians are responsible for the untold discoveries and wonders that exist on this Earth? Will science win? Will religion win? Or will both win? Only time will tell.
Before It Began by Thomas Zman is a religious science-fiction book and is the first of the Neuphobes Trilogy, but it can also be read as a standalone. The story begins with the introduction of Omegan, a character who is part of the Theocrat group and who knows his death is imminent. He hopes to convince a Technocrat to allow him and his family on one of the Mother Ships before Phoebious is destroyed, but he is declined passage. Omegan is ultimately killed and becomes an intellect soul who never dies but morphs into other characters. Through Omegan’s journey, Zman explores how the religion-science battle continues between the Theocrats and the Technocrats after they arrive on Earth. The most interesting concept that Zman explores is whether or not science can ever truly succeed without God.
What I liked the most was how Zman intertwined this story with various parts of the story from Genesis. He also included archeological discoveries. I think it takes a bold and creative mind to dare to imagine a world outside of the Bible. One other thing I admired was Zman’s response to a situation in the book. The Technocrats were performing experiments on humans throughout the book that were immoral. Speaking as the spiritual intellect, Zman wrote, “The torturous demise of any human would twist my soul and drive me to despairing depths of anguish, making me near ashamed I was part of a species that allowed this behavior.” I can relate to this statement when I think about the cruel science lab experiments and the frightening actions some humans are executing against other humans and animals.
What I liked the least was Zman’s writing style. It was heavy on telling with very little showing. I found it to be confusing and somewhat wordy. I had to read the first four or five chapters several times just to get a feel for what was happening. It did become easier after that, but I still had to re-read passages by mentally re-structuring the sentence or sentences until the very end of the book. Zman also used words that were college level and this felt out of place to me. While I only encountered a couple of words with missing letters, it didn’t feel like it was professionally edited. Not only was the text confusing and wordy, the Kindle edition was poorly formatted. Some of the paragraphs were divided into 2-line segments, and some words were italicized for no apparent reason.
I want to be able to give this book four stars because Zman covers serious ethical concepts that I think are worthy of discussion. I also thought the unexpected ending deserves four stars. However, I rate Before It Began 2 out of 4 stars because of the things I mentioned in the previous paragraph. While there were no profanity or erotic scenes, there was one scene with mild suggestive overtones. On the other hand, there were two scenarios with descriptive violence and gore. I would recommend this book for anyone 18 years old and over interested in reading a theological, science-fiction story.
Before it Began
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon