Off the Shelf
By Marcus Pan
A technical author of numerous books and
articles, Clint Smith has turned his attention to the world of fiction. Science
fiction to be exact. Hitting us from ASI Publishing out of New York,
Infusion is his novel of universal resource gathering run amok.
The story in and of itself is quite good, if a little
borrowed. It is, admittedly, hard to not borrow from previous sci-fi works, of
course, but for some reason there seems to be a lot of it here. In the book we
are introduced to two alien races from two worlds Kimoph and Zeron.
Having come out of a civil war between each other which has ravaged terribly
the eco-systems of both, a truce between the two has been established just in
time for a third race to start slapping around either or. This war, however
hinted at as large scale, plays a very minor part of the book. So does the
investigated death of a woman murdered after turning over some information to a
You'll see pieces of this sort of thing, attempted to fit
into a neat puzzle but becoming just an obstacle during the course of the book.
It could have done without them, but for a few moments you think you're off on
an interplanetary war or an interesting detective story sidetrack. Naught. Both
Kimoph and Zeron seem a little too close to humanity in detail as well. The
detective in that short dramatic add-in is very much like any other Earth based
Dick Tracy. The aliens on board the cargo ship Curgan (more on that later)
speak similarly as we do, though of course it is understood in a different
language. They even have the same wise phrases and anecdotes we do
The Curgan is a cargo ship en route to Earth. The main push
of the book is exploring the morality of self-preservation versus needless
destruction. Similar to Earth (again), corporations hold a huge piece of the
sociological and governmental pie. The two largest are miners and extractors of
a mineral called, to them, dattan (which struck me as quite an unimaginary
name). It was dattan that was damaged to destroy the eco-systems of Kimoph and
Zeron during the war, and the cultures are now in a savage hunt to find it
elsewhere to rebuild their own planets.
After accidentally destroying one world, however, a
consortium known as the KIEF was formed to police and enforce the safe
extraction of this mineral in quanitities that wouldn't completely poop on
other planets and destroy, in turn, their eco-systems. But without it
the Kimophians and Zeronians die. So therein lies the moral versus
self-preserving dilemma. The Curgan is secretly dispatched to immorally extract
large quantities of dattan from a blue planet in the "preserve," an area
protected by KIEF. Of course...we speak of Earth.
The main gist of the book is the exploration of this
dilemma, but doesn't really offer much of an outcome. The greedy corporations
who mine and sell dattan as their core business are up for taking it from
anywhere. The KIEF police are up for keeping it from damaging other places. And
the dilemma stands at book's end with no real ending or solution in sight.
Overall...Infusion has a decent plot and not-bad
storyline. But it tries to infuse too many different puzzle pieces that don't
fit neatly together (but could have if explored and expanded into, say, a
trilogy) that offer bumps down the road. It's also told in the way you'd expect
a freshman fiction writer to tell it. Neither the Kimoph or Zeron cultures are
expounded upon much, instead left to be basically Earth with a different skin
color. There's a lot of room for improvement here.
Infusion by Clint Smith
© 2004 by Clint Smith
Published by ASI Publishing
Post: 12 Brandywine Dr., Warwick, NY, 10990, USA
Phone: (845) 987-1787
Fax: (845) 988-5439
Click to Buy!