________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 04 . . . . September 24, 2010


Cinco de Mayo.

Michael J. Martineck.
Calgary, AB: EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, 2010.
265 pp., pbk., $14.95.
ISBN 978-1-894063-39-5.

Grades 8 and up / Ages 13 and up.

Review by Ronald Hore.

*** 1/2 /4


"He retucked the girls under the blankets and reached behind both of them to stroke his wife's straight black hair. Valerie looked at him. He loved her dark, narrow face. Film noir beauty, to which he never believed he matched. Not that he was in bad shape. A little thickness in the belly. A little gray frosting the temples. Otherwise, he was still boyish. Not a beautiful adult, like Valerie.

The girls were quiet but alert. They stared at the small TV on the dresser, waiting for it to come on. Alistair wasn't sure he wanted it on. Maybe it would be best if he tried to get them back to sleep. The headaches were gone. Rebecca had said nothing else in a foreign language.

In a crisis, it's all instincts and training. Alistair didn't like his set of the two, but it was what he had. American suburbs. TV, the great unifier. He pushed the remote's 'ON' button, wondering which channel might be covering whatever had happened. Which one was best at chasing firetrucks? "

This Science Fiction story is told through the lives of several unconnected and different characters after a life-changing happening. Everyone on Earth has simultaneously received the memories of another person, without losing their own, and that other person shares theirs. Each chapter follows one of these people as the plot unfolds. Many of the stories connect.

     Alistair is an average married man with two children, who suddenly finds himself exchanging memories with a vicious killer. He knows everything the killer knows. He, and his family, are in danger.

     Cindy is a powerless, abused wife who discovers she has the knowledge of a highly-trained Swiss policeman. The next time Brad decides to beat on his wife, he is in for an unpleasant surprise.

     Susan has been brought in to supervise a group of scientists and experts trying to discover the cause of the world-wide memory-transfer. Her memory-match is with a descendent of the Maya, whose primitive spirituality is a definite contrast with her own rational, scientific mind.

     Sultan bin Abdullah Al-Marzouqi, a playboy living in Abu Dhabi, is now linked up with a small boy. That small boy is a slave. The unhappy experience is something quite new for Sultan.

     Each of these stories, and others, illustrates the effect on the various people and how they react. One of the interesting tales that comes toward the latter part of the book follows what happens in Mrs. Enfield's Third Grade Class, the first day back to school after the happening. Some of the children have memories from adults and some from people in other parts of the world.

     Well-written, this novel holds the interest of the reader and is definitely not a Space Opera or something set in the distant future. Instead, it's a series of small, human stories set in today's world that has been turned upside down. The stories follow how each of the affected persons react to her/his own unique situation. The book is 272 pages long and broken into 75 short chapters. Each chapter follows a part of one of the character's adventures as s/he seeks to make sense of what has happened to her/him. This book should appeal to the reader who enjoys personal stories, well-told.

Highly Recommended.

Ronald Hore, involved with writer's groups for several years, retired from the business world in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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