Friday 3 November 2017

Beyond The Black Hole - Manuel Alfonseca

Beyond The Black Hole
Manuel Alfonseca
ISBN 9781540850874

So far this year I have read 5 books by Manuel Alfonseca.  Four of those five have been from The Sleuths of the Spanish Transition Series, but I actually read this book second. This book was a very interesting read. In many ways it reminded me of the works of Alfred Bester or Philip K. Dick. Or like Frank Herbert's non Dune books. Or even Edgar Rice Burroughs's Warlord of Mars Series. It is a science fiction story but without a lot of details about the science. It is a time travel story or a place shift story. But after I finish this book I thought about it often over the next few days and weeks. 

This book was translated from the Spanish by the author himself. And unlike his other works I could hardly tell it was a work in translation. It is a well written novel, and will cause the reader to think. And to be honest the twist at the end completely caught me by surprise. The description of the book is:
"A group of scientists in a secret investigation take the responsibility of caring for a drug-addict boy in danger of death from overdose. Drug withdrawal pushes him to interfere in a dangerous experiment, falling into a black hole that sends him to another place and another time, where he is helped by people with very different traditions."
The book is interesting on many different levels. First the group of scientist secluded and working on a world changing experiment, who end up helping a young man with a drug addiction. The man going through the black hole to some place, sometime else, and learning to integrate, and maybe finally turn his life around. Even knowing he will likely never get back to where he is from. The concept of hospitality, and responsibility once you have helped someone, as seen from more than one tradition and culture. In many ways it is like a modern version of the parable of the Good Samaritan. If you consider that comparison after reading the story you will wonder were you more of a Rosario Perez, Jaime Valladolid, Fernando Manzano, and Julia Mus? Or would you be the recipient of their help, and suffer the consequences of your rashness like Pepe Ortega? And the ending of the book is open to a few different interpretations.

This book was an interesting read. Like I stated before in many ways it reads like some of the masters of classic science fiction. But with some very interesting twists and possible interpretations of the story as a whole. I recommend this book wholeheartedly. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Manuel Alfonseca in English:
Jacob's Ladder
The Ruby of the Ganges
The Last Dinosaur
Ennia in Faerie
The Heirloom of King Scorpion
Beyond the Black Hole
The Water of Life

The Sleuths of the Spanish Transition Series:
Quetzalcoatl's Zahir

The Mystery of the Haunted House
The Mystery of the Sapphire Bracelet
The Mystery of the Honeymoon
The Mystery of the Egyptian Vulture Country House

Chronicles of the Magic Jigsaw Puzzle Series:
The Journey of Tivo the Dauntless
The Mystery of the Black Lake
The Silver Swan
The Secret of the Ice Field
The Lost Continent

The Chronicles of the Aeolian Family Series:

Human Cultures & Evolution
World Population: Past, Present, & Future
The Fifth Level of Evolution

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