A lonely freighter pilot travels to a distant galaxy and must transform his genetic structure in order to survive on a planet with a climate so hellish that evolved humans hibernate underground during the Burn season. The only one that can perform the genetic modification is a secretive A. I. who has many enemies, namely a mutant clan that wants to put an end to its experimentation. Our anti-hero must decide to continue his futile quest for a new home, or settle the ancient rivalry between a machine with dubious ethics and the mutant clan leader.
Plot: Bardolomy is an imaginative sci-fi adventure set on a hostile planet that explores notions of humanity through a context of selective evolution and transhumanism. The novel is a linear narrative from a single first-person perspective.
Prose: The novel features strong descriptive writing and dialogue that blends into the world of the story and works to create a consistent and creative science fiction setting.
Originality: The narrative is inventive and sets itself apart from many contemporary works. The planetary setting is original and thoroughly depicted, and the science fiction, anthropological, and philosophical aspects are interesting and unique.
Character/Execution: The novel explores its themes through the development, interaction, and change of its central characters. The novel culminates in the completion of a character arc, nicely closing out the narrative and reading experience.
Date Submitted: June 22, 2022
Bardolomy tells the story of a man who travels to the stars in search of happiness and a new home. Earth is flooded, and Europa, his workplace, is a frozen world. After a perilous journey, he finds a world inhabited by intelligent evolved humans who welcome him and his colonists. But the world they inhabit has such a hellish climate as it revolves around two stars that they must hibernate underground to survive the Burn season. Draedon Ekho must either repair his ship and search for a new planet, or modify his genetic structure and transform into a new species. The only individual capable of such an operation is a secretive A.I. that lives inside a mountain. The A.I. came with the original colonists thousands of years ago and helped them to survive, but now it continues its genetic experiments to the detriment of the population. Some want to see an end to the sinister A.I., and they try to enlist the help of Ekho, who has brought weapons to the planet. As Burn approaches, Ekho faces a dilemma: destroy the A.I. and resume a futile search for a home, or undergo a risky operation, the only chance of survival.
BARDOLOMYby Norbert Weissinger
When Liberation, a starship carrying 9000 passengers hoping to colonise a new planet, is almost destroyed by a supernova, close to a thousand of the colonists die and many on board suffer from radiation sickness. The main character, Draedon Ecko, one of the few crew members to survive, must take over as Commander and as the ship’s intelligent navigation system is so damaged (not even Murvan, an almost human robot, can restore it) they head for the closest planet, Baktun. It is in a binary star system with an extremely elongated orbit encircling two suns, one a red dwarf, the other a massive star 10 times the size of the small one, a fact which proves to have huge significance later in the tale. Baktun turns out to be inhabited.by a race of evolved humans called Soverins, who are very similar to Draedon and his companions but are smaller in size and have five eyes with 3 extra in the forehead. Draedon imagines that they see a different image of the electromagnetic spectrum like bees who have five eyes. They seem friendly, however, and Draedon and his companions discover they can communicate with them by means of otopods a form of hearing aid similar in function to the Babel fish of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
The Soverins build shelters for those of the Starship who are brought down to the planet and also supply them with food. They are looked after by Professor Tadat, who seems to be a kindly and cultivated man, but he is not the Soverin’s leader and they eventually discover that the planet is controlled by Rychee, an Artificial Intelligence who has many human attributes and who lives in the mountains in a specially designed bubble. And there is a terrible secret that the Soverins are reluctant to reveal, referred to as the Burn.
The tale combines philosophical considerations of personal ethics and correct government with thrilling and exciting action sequences. The descriptions of the planet’s flora and fauna are fascinating, the various characters are strongly drawn, the colonists’ and Soverin’s reactions are plausible, and the colonists’ ultimate fate in doubt until the very end.
All in all, a gripping and worthwhile read.
Jaye Sarasin is the author of The Green Enclave (Parfoys Press 2017) and Using Literature in Language Teaching (Macmillan, 1986) Former teacher/translator, now living in Yorkshire. www.jayesarasin.co.uk