Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Book Review: "Henry 38" and Day Zero by Olsen Jay Nelson

Henry 38 is a very intelligent speculative fiction spoken mainly through a managerial perspective; where the reader is taken through a history of a very possible future from the ‘high up’ perspective similar to that of a history book; except with a more personal and entertaining feel. It revolves around Henry Clay, a businessman in the mid-21st century, who takes the weight of the world on his shoulders and rises to power as a key figure in human history; though one who acts in the shadows to work for his dream of a utopia for humanity. The future is bleak, the middle class having become extinct in the earlier part of the century, with islands of civilization for the ‘have been’s and a sea of chaos for the ‘have not’s. This is a short story of nearly 16,000 words with a chilling end, and well worth the read for anyone interested in the direction our future is currently progressing into.

Day Zero is a full-length novel of 66,000 words set in the same time span of Henry 38, with a lighter managerial aspect and a stronger focus on the lead character, Ikaros Jonez. Ikaros establishes a massive company in his time and generates the many breakthroughs needed for Henry’s future. A true revolutionary, he runs into trouble on a few occasions in his efforts to improve life for everyone while furthering his own agenda. Day Zero takes a much closer look at the quality of life in the mid-21st century and some of the terrible things to be expected should we continue down the path we are taking in the present.

Both books are very intelligent reads and spoken from an academic standpoint. These books are highly informative, chilling, and motivating for those of us who care to see the future change, and I am eager to read more in this series. Though not for light reading, I would recommend these books to anyone active in positive change for the future, and to whoever asks what can be done to avoid a dystopian future; also to get a few good ideas as to what should be done to avoid it.

I would like to emphasize the difference between sci-fi and speculative fiction. Olsen Jay Nelson's work is speculative fiction, written with as much rationality as can be applied to work pertaining to the future, whereas science fiction has a sad tendency to ditch actual science altogether (a significant source of irritation for me). Unlike your typical sci-fi, a lot of thought and work goes into creating speculative fiction in order for it to be as realistic as possible; I find both stories to be frighteningly realistic.

Day Zero: http://www.amazon.com/Day-Zero-New-World-ebook/dp/B007TW8H2K/ref=la_B006FR8LW6_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1342659524&sr=1-3


  1. Well, this is just where I make updates about my service and post reviews of books I've edited. The rest just details my rates and what exactly I do; all the minor details and what-not. Since many readers won't be able to get past frequent typos and punctuation errors my skills are a pretty good deal. It certainly isn't perfect, though some would disagree with me on that, but it'll keep the negative reviews about spelling off your back.

  2. Thanks for your considered reviews, Aidan! You really did get what they were on about. You included the scifi/SF contrast as well! Also, thanks again for all the work you did on the books; I can stop worrying about them now:-)