Friday, April 22, 2011

S is for Secret Thoughts (book review)

Cross-posted at Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing, and my blog review page.

Secret Thoughts cover
Secret Thoughts
By Guy Hasson
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: n/a
Edition: Published by Apex Publications (2011)
ISBN#10/13: 0981639038 / 9780981639031
Pages: 244
Source: Bought Ebook
Links: Amazon | Author | Publisher

My Review: I'm calling SECRET THOUGHTS science fiction, but you could easily say it's contemporary fantasy. Paranormal. Slipstream. Magic realism. It doesn't matter how you qualify it, SECRET THOUGHTS is a fresh, insightful take on telepathy and the human condition.

I first heard of SECRET THOUGHTS through a guest post by Guy Hasson on SF Signal entitled, "How Do Telepaths Have Sex?" After that article, I was hooked, and I made my first Apex Publishing purchase. Definitely not my last!

A compilation of 3 novellas by playwright and novelist Guy Hasson, SECRET THOUGHTS explores what life would be like if you could read minds. All the stories are written in first person; two are past tense, one is present. Both "The Perfect Girl" and "The Linguist" are from the point of view of a female telepath as narrator, while "Most Beautiful Intimacy" is about another female telepath, but from the perspective of her husband. Together they weave an almost dystopian world where telepaths are feared and, inevitably, eliminated.

Above everything else, the stories explore intimacy, relationships, and sexuality. How does the telepath love a partner whose every negative thought they know through touch? And how does a partner cope with a person they cannot keep secrets from?

SECRET THOUGHTS is beautifully crafted with a straight-forward writing style and well-honed plot. Each story exposes a darkness (and beauty) to humanity. The pacing is slower at points than I would like, and some introspection could have been cut. But I urge readers to stay the course! SECRET THOUGHTS will entertain and enlighten you.

Recommended for those who love thought-provoking, darker short stories with a speculative element.

Sample: The Perfect Girl
Sample: Most Beautiful Intimacy

Content Warning: R (mild language, sexuality, mild violence, brief rape scene, adult themes)

Rating: 4 Stars
My Rating System
StarStarStarStar

Blurb:
Secret Thoughts is a startling examination of sexuality, motherhood, and society told in three novellas by Geffen Award-winning author Guy Hasson.

In “The Perfect Girl”, Alexandra Watson is a newcomer to Indianapolis Academy of Telepathic Studies. By touch alone, she can delve into your memories, desires, insecurities… everything that makes a person. When she bonds with Professor Parks, her world grows complicated. Soon, she’s reading the residual memories of a recently dead and tracking down the mystery of her demise.

“The Linguist” continues the story of telepathic-enabled women, except now the author has moved us several years in the future. The US government has determined that people like Rachel Akerman are a threat to the nation and orders countrywide extermination of those with telepathic powers. When a G-man uncovers Rachel and offers her a chance to help her country in exchange for her life, what choice is she left with? Rachel finds herself attempting to communicate with a frightened and imprisoned alien life form for the military.

Finally, in “Most Beautiful Intimacy”, Guy Hasson posits “What if a woman were psychically attached to an embryo growing within her uterus?” Set years after the previous novella, Susan DiOrio and her husband hide in a remote region of Montana. Cut off from the world, all they have is each other, and that is threatened when Susan becomes pregnant. A telepath has never successfully given birth to a child. Poignant and urgent, Hasson effectively explores the fear and wide-eyed amazement associated with having a baby.

These three novellas will open your eyes, raise uncomfortable questions, and make you fall in love with the protagonists three times over.
from Amazon