I guess you could classify Suan Ming as science fiction if you wish to give it a label. This is my first time reading Mr Doubinsky’s work and already I am a fan. I get the feeling that Suan Ming is perhaps a piece of a much larger puzzle, perhaps loosely linked to some of his other works, though I could also be wrong. Anyway, I really liked reading this, a lot!
The plot follows John DiMeglio. John is a remote viewer working for the military. He is recalled to take part in a special mission. A mission where he is asked to project himself into a secret base in order to examine what is going on there. John’s life away from the military is never far away from his thoughts, though there is something that is not quite right there. The story tells of the balance John has between living in the real world and existing inside the ether (an alternate reality) though it is sometimes tricky to tell which reality John really exists in…It also examines the use of drones in warfare and addresses the possibility of psychic warfare being the key to the future of how battles are fought.
The chapters in ‘Suan Ming’ are short, sharp and snappy. I love it. Not a word is wasted as the story steadily unfolds itself making you question everything about what John does and everybody he is in contact with. Doubinsky keeps his cards close to his chest until the end, which is superb, really well executed and yet sad at the same time. We then get to realize the effects that DiMeglio’s repeated journeys are having on his fragile mind.
I have a love/hate relationship with science fiction, especially when it’s in the shorter form, like a novella or a short story. Writers can often come across as smug in the way they throw terminology at you and simply expect you to know what it all means. Doubinsky doesn’t do that. This story is very clean in that Doubinsky uses an economy of words but is still successful in enveloping you fully within the tale. ‘Suan Ming’ is an example of how modern sci-fi can be a riveting storytelling experience. A thought-provoking look at a possible future, In my opinion it is a book that should be experienced by all.
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