|Observation Three: Changing Hearts|
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Toni and Maelene press on with their fine ad hoc support to the Mater, and also have plenty of time to see America and get to know each other for better or worse. But Maelene is far from carefree, and Homeland Security still can’t seem to leave Toni alone.
A string of ill-conceived Earth-Dome summits, permeated with mistrust and denial, is making very little progress. Quo amuses herself, in her spare moments, by gaining new insights into both American political truth and what ordinary human beings really think about their modern world. And the Mater, meanwhile, continues to receive further challenging orders from Dome, mixed in with news both bad and good.
Many hearts will need to change, or be changed, if this is not to end in a sea of tears ...
|about the author ...|
Michael E. Lloyd lives near Cambridge, England. He worked for thirty years in the international information systems business, but left all that behind in 2002 to pursue his other neglected interests, writing in particular.
His first full-length novel, Observation One: Singing of Promises (written and set in the world-changing year of 2003) is founded on one of his greatest passions: the truth and integrity embodied in the life and work of the American writer, singer and musician, Janis Ian. The following year he went on to produce a definitive study and celebration of Janis’ complete body of over 270 recorded songs.
Observation Two: Standing Divided was written in 2006, and Observation Three: Changing Hearts marked the completion of the Observation Trilogy in 2008.
A very different sort of story, Donna’s Men, emerged in 2010, and Mike completed his latest full-length novel, Missing Emilie, in 2011.
When he’s not writing, Mike enjoys pike and carp fishing, choral singing and occasional private flying, as well as editing, reading, drawing, language tuition, music, bridge, and chess. His own web site can be found here.
The artistic center of Observation Three is the image of the narrator — enlightened, urbane, idealistic, and lightly ironic. He positions the numerous characters like pieces on a vast chessboard. The pieces are then set in motion, and the events of the novel unfold in a brilliant and intricate pattern.
The comic elements subtly shift to the fore. The names, the affectations, the inexorable pull towards the happy ending — it all comes together with the reader’s awareness that we are in the land of gentle comedy, with a sad and serious sub-text, but comedy nonetheless.
And in the end? No explosion. No crisis. Only the gained insight that mankind is not yet quite up to the Doman challenge. First contact is made, but it’s almost a non-event and only a handful of people even know.
Observation Three is a panoramic portrait of what we are and what we could be. It is an extended, minutely detailed, gradually unfolding plea that we behave rationally and charitably — in our own best interests. And to sweeten the philosophical punch, the love story of Toni and Maelene, child of “Society’s Child,” is told.
Michael E. Lloyd picks up the action where he left it in Observation Two, introduces many new characters, and develops the plot nicely amid authentic Southern California scenery.
He then does a fine job of interweaving the threads of his intricate story: the ongoing romance of Toni and Maelene under the loosening management of the Domans and the ever-suspicious eye of Homeland Security; the Doman diplomatic trade initiative to the always-doubting U.S. government; and the “elixir of life” buy-back scheme for comic relief.
The concluding chapters remind me of a Classical dénouement, where the gods dole out rewards and punishment to the mortal players, make their “gods’ eye view” observations about human nature, and then return to Mount Olympus.
A well-written, engaging and enjoyable read.
Gary Inbinder, writer, California
The military were standing guard, the fire department was standing watch, and the police were standing around. The government scientists were standing to one side, and the FBI, the CIA and Homeland Security were standing divided.
Nobody was in command, because every senior officer on-site felt that his particular service owned the problem. So they had done a lot of talking. And now they had been told, in a coded early-morning phone call received by the CIA agent, to await the arrival of the Department of State.
The police officer in charge had, as his first action on-site, cordoned off the bore hole for his scene-of-crime investigators. But both of them had been re-assigned elsewhere soon after their arrival, with cases of suspected arson and attempted murder in towns several miles away.
So the scientists and technical experts who had been whisked in under strict secrecy were still frustratedly scratching their and each other’s heads at an enforced distance. The best any of those boffins had been able to come up with, from their remote visual observations, was that it looked as if someone had been a bit careless with a giant laser-powered apple-corer ...
‘It’s DF, sir. I’m calling from the special summit meeting I mentioned yesterday ...’
‘Is that the one about the low-price oil?’
‘Can’t be that special, then.’
‘Sir, this is the one with the envoys from the ... Aliens.’
‘Ah, that one. Slipped my mind. So, did they surrender?’
‘No, sir, it’s not a combat situation. It’s a trade negotiation.’
‘Right, so it is about oil, then?’
‘Not exactly, sir. But the important thing is, they insist on talking not just with the USA, but with other nations too ...’
‘Yes, sir. You know — overseas powers, foreign countries ...’
‘I’m not too sure about that idea, DF.’
‘I do believe it’s in our interest to make a small concession here, sir.’
‘You think they have some quality crude to trade?’
‘I believe they are offering us many valuable resources at very attractive prices ...’
‘OK. But hey, we can’t tell the real power brokers anything about this.’
‘No. And I don’t want to involve more than one alien state in our own business, right?’
‘Right, sir ...’
‘So I think ... I think I need to know what you recommend, Rob.’
‘It’s Bob, sir.’
‘Good. Where do we find him?’
‘No, I’m Bob, sir. But we do have a special relationship with Junior over there in Great Britain ...’
‘Hey, that’s a part of England, right?’
‘And they still have some left? OK, let’s do it. You jump on an airplane to ... wait, don’t tell me ... yeah, to London, and fix up a deal.’
‘A deal with London, sir?’
‘But I can’t let you have the Grumman, Bob. Keeping that in reserve — there’s too much going down in that Asia City place. You’ll have to go scheduled and set up a dummy meeting as a cover.’
‘You mean I should create a legend, sir?’
‘I sure hope I will be, Rob.’
‘No problem, Ron. Now, go west, young man.’
‘That’s east, sir.’
Observation Three: Changing Hearts
is published by Bewildering Press.
Cover art by Crystalwizard
You can buy Observation Three here:
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