Saturday, 17 November 2012

Forced Intelligence, J H Glaze


Short, but powerful, ebook that should have meaning to us all and, frighteningly, is not far-fetched.

- Review by Kazza K

Forced IntelligenceI'll be honest and say this short ebook steps me firmly outside the genres that I read within these days. Why did I pick this one up? Because I do step outside for something that sounds interesting. I also have another, longer, book by this author, so I took the opportunity of trying his writing style out with something shorter first off. I can tell when I'm going to like a writer's style pretty quickly. J H Glaze is a good writer and, if this short story is anything to go by, has a message, some psychology, and a sting to his words.

I'm kind of review-tied here, because to say what I would like to would be to give away a lot of the meaning and development that should be read, not spoiled. So I will give as abbreviated a review as I am able. For those of you who read my reviews....well, good luck with that.

The story starts with Alex  Connor driving to work, swerving to miss a rabbit on the road. He also stops to make sure it's all right. He likes animals, he's a decent guy. I think the rabbit and the red-tailed hawk was a sign that Alex should have heeded, in hindsight. Anyway....

Dr Alex Connor works at Hawks Mountain, a facility used for experimentation in a number of different areas, including work with bacterial and viral agents. His particular research is different, he's looking at, working on, a forced intelligence project. Enabling other animals to communicate with humans. Not just using memorized words on a keyboard or rudimentary ASL, or basic awareness. The government funds and runs the facility at Hawks Mountain and believes Dr. Connor's experiments may have a military application down the track.

Basically an incident occurs, one that sends the facility at Hawks Mountain into a hazardous anomaly lockdown. All doors are shut down, they need hazmat suits, and they have to figure out casualties, if any, and what they need to do to get through the lockdown. Another phenomon has occued and this adds a further dimension to the shutdown for those at the facility. I can't say anymore.

Each chapter in the book is headed up by an increment of time, starting at 7.35AM and finshing at 6PM. The 'hazardous anomaly lockdown' starts at the chapter headed up '9.30AM,' and this is where it gets really interesting.

Apart from seeing what is occuring at the facility, the reader also gets to see what is happening at The Pentagon, as meetings and briefings are taking place to review what they know. What they do know is communication lines aren't in place between them and Hawks Mountain. They don't know why, but it doesn't help the situation as they can only speculate - is there is a biohazard? Are there surviors? If so, have they been infected by something? They also need to work out how best to approach a problem which they know little about. Outside the facts that there are various experimentations taking place at the facility, and that there are seventy five workers at Hawks Mountain, little is known now.

The General in charge of the anomaly lockdown operation has had previous experience with another lockdown, in Kentucky. On that occasion there were viral problems, and loss of life, not only to the facility workers but to his men that were bought in to deal with the problem. He doesn't want another 'Kentucky' on his hands. A decision has been made to give the workers 10 hours to establish communication so The Pentagon knows what is happening. Otherwise there are two tactical units waiting on the ground to help survivors or...not. However, talks with the Vice President bring the time allocated for contact by those within the facility forward, adding to the tension.

Forced Intelligence is not a fluffy, cuddly tale. It is dark, but it has great depth of meaning. Nothing came as a surpirse to me, I'm a part of the human race after all; but it was well written, with a strong, clear narrative. We, as the primary animals on this planet, with the capacity to see right, wrong, the past, present, and the future, mess with creatures that we should protect, take liberties that we should not, and can tend towards losing our humanity. Intelligence is only as good as the person using it, what we do with it. Forced Intelligence is not a long read, but it's a powerful one. The last word that Caesar says meant so much. One word. I highly recommend this book to those who like some science, something with a futuristic slant, some tension, and a moral that is weaved into the well written mix. Highly recommended reading.