It's the last few minutes of Millennium Eve, December 31 1999. But whilst the rest of the world is celebrating, Outcast Angel Jesse and a ragtag bunch of genetically enhanced trainees are desperately trying to save a Russian politician from an unknown assassin.
The crowd is counting down the last few seconds till the new millennium -- and then suddenly everything changes. What just happened, will it happen again and is there anything that Jesse and his team can do to prevent the assassination?
THEN AGAIN is one of a collaborative series of short stories published under the collective banner REALMS OF OUR OWN.
Realms Of Our Own is a new model in Science-Fiction anthologies, inviting each author to contribute a single character to be shared by all, reinvented by each contributor for use in a completely different universe. Ten authors, ten universes, ten core characters, one collaborative effort.
This story, THEN AGAIN, features characters and concepts from the Outcast Angels series by Michael Carney. If you’d like to know more about the Outcast Angels series, please visit http://OutcastAngels.com.
The Guru's Review:
Special ops meets the angelic meets time travel! Three of my favourite genres. Mix them together and you have one cohesive, fast paced thriller! I honestly felt that this was longer than it was and that is a great quality when you know it is a short story! If it felt like this as a short imagine the potential if this was a full length novel! I would love to see this.
In this short, Carney was responsible to describe the character of Jesse. I have come to be very fond of Jesse from the other Realms of Our Own episodes but, because this one specifically focuses on him, I feel he comes into his own in this short. When I discovered that Carney has made him one of his Outcast Angels characters from his series of the same name, I was very pleased and also very intrigued with the concept of this series. Carney explains this concept in this short,
Jesse and Ravid were angels who had been part of the Great Rebellion against God and had been sent into exile as a consequence. However, Jesse and Ravid and several hundred other exiles had subsequently repented and so had not joined Lucifer and his demon followers. This splinter group, who called themselves, Outcast Angels, chose instead to stand against evil wherever they could. The resulting guerilla warfare, former angels against angels-turned-demons, had continued over thousands of years and the Outcast Angels had suffered many causalities along the way.
Because the Outcast Angels were so few in number compared with Lucifer's multitudes, Jesse had also recruited from the human population, encouraging them to join the secret organization he had created, the LOA. This group was named for the institution under whose guidance it was originally founded, the Library of Alexandria. Like its namesake, the LOA's primary purpose was information. However occasionally direct action was required, especially to combat the activities of subversive groups....To meet this need, the LOA had set up several rapid response teams around the world.
If this short is an example of what his Outcast Angels stories are about, Carney has gained a devoted fan. This concept really does grab me and I have subscribed to Carney's website http://outcastangels.com
to be kept up to date on this series.
Carney writes well and I can see that he is very thorough in the construction of this short. Plot flows well and keeps the reader's attention focussed. Plot is also well developed and I felt as if I was in the middle of a special ops, military type coup happening. Action and adventure, battle strategy, urgency and well controlled demeanour when things go pear shaped and the battle strategy has to change instantly. Jesse is depicted as having the respect of his team and comes across as a true leader. I find all this as strengths of this novel. Despite the ending being rather sudden, I still feel he wrapped it up well and I did not feel that I was left hanging as if it was unfinished. I really do want more of this short and especially of the Outcast Angels series.
I really did love the roles and situations he placed all the other characters that are a part of all the other Realm of Our Own episodes. All well placed and well balanced.
My only negative and it is a small one was that at first I did not understand why Carney had used the electronic device called aernote which used Morse code to allow Grayson Ford to communicate with his team seeing he was mute. My first thought was that why not just use the text messaging (SMS) function of a mobile phone? Then I researched this and it was after the year 2000 that text messaging really took off so in the time of this short, it was a relatively small percentage of mobile phone users who were using SMS. But despite this, Carney may just have decided to create his own device for this short well within the realms of poetic licence and his imagination.