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Book Reviews: Madsen Pirie’s Dark Visitor and Children of the Night

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The Adam Smith Institute head honcho and think tank guru Madsen Pirie is trying his hand at science fiction with Dark Visitor. It has a bit of a Babylon 5/Firefly/Serenity feel to it. The storyline is a mysterious stranger shows up in a mysterious craft, predicts bad things to come and sure enough bad things happen. The characters in this tale are quite well thought-out and interesting.

It's a novella, so the book never has time to drag, which is very much a welcome thing these days. It's possible to read this book in one sitting and I would predict you want to do it that way to see what happens next.

There are all the right elements in play here, including greed, redemption, curiosity and danger. While I will admit to liking Madsen's other novella (reviewed below) more than this one, this is quite good for a first novel. In fact, I would recommend you buy both books together.

Decent sci-fi can sometimes be hard to find these days. Here you have a nice tight, fast paced tale with all the right bits in it. And there is nothng wrong with that now is there?

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Perhaps the most surprising thing about Children of the Night is that there is not a hint of any sort of politics, merely a good yarn in an alternate earth with science and lots of adventure. The novel is aimed at young adults, in other words there is no sex or swearing to distract from the action, which is not always a bad thing. This is especially the case as this book is a novella at only 165 pages.

The beauty of novellas is that there is no fluff or padding. This is a tight SF/fantasy novel that never wallows or drags. It's action straight through. It's the perfect novel for that flight or commute you have to take.

There are hints of Fritz Leiber in this novel. Murder, a telekinetic rat, mechanical butterflys and conspiracy all add up to quite a nice read. Rarely, if ever, is a new fiction author’s work so good. Highly recommended for both young and old, genre fan or not.

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