You always know science fiction might be good when it starts off with a captivating first line: “Jon sat across from his best friend of six hundred years, devastated that he had to kill him.” LOST STARS by Donny Anguish is one of those good books.
The novel alternates between worlds and time. Skillfully weaving the story of Jon Foster and the story of Saiph, the book moves between realities on Earth and what’s unfolding in the rest of the Universe including the planet of Jangali. Characters spout humorous quips (“I’m sorry, I didn’t realize this meeting was supposed to be melodramatic. I’ll pretend I’m furious about something important”), leavening weighty subject matter. The complex, clever premise of the novel is this: many years ago Jon’s father Warren invented a way to halt the aging process — either entirely, or for a certain number of years — and this he shared with his closest confidantes. Jon got a pill. His wife Ava got one. But friends come and go, so not everyone Jon cared about received the gift of potentially infinite life. Most everyone else had the opportunity to buy immortality for a billion dollars, or they could obtain lesser amounts. When wartime recruits were needed, those who joined the armed forces received an extra 15 years of youth.
This quickly made Warren Foster a very rich and politically powerful man. With power comes the responsibility and difficult choices Jon himself learns over time, and readers will find themselves compelled to ponder in an absorbing, action-packed tale. Because the problem with humans living longer, potentially immortal lives is: unless people evolve past petty exclusivity- and violence-prone natures, what you get when humans live longer is just more reality of the kind everyone already experiences from those with under 100-year lifespans. Meanwhile, on Jangali, Core Verses (“The truth is rarely pure and never simple” ) guide an entirely different type of population, who are removed from the old/new technologies and medical breakthroughs existing on other planets.
With a novel that has only minor flaws (such as new word usage that makes one wonder if the principles, doctrines, beliefs known as tenants, for example, aren’t typos meant instead to read tenets), length is never an issue, but at this length readers would likely find the addition of Back-To-Table-Of-Contents navigational links useful at the end of each chapter. Overall, though, it’s an intriguing book that makes you think. And, as the first in a new science fiction series, readers will look forward to what happens in Book Two.
Certain inventions change everything. But new possibilities do not come without consequences. If humans could live forever, would that change things for the better? In the riveting science fiction novel LOST STARS, author Donny Anguish explores such fascinating ethical dilemmas and more.
~Cristina Salat for IndieReader