Science Fiction

The World of Peter Prellwitz

Four Book Excerpts Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            A short time ago, I was offered an opportunity to take a small tour of the Shards Universe, a world created by author Peter Prellwitz.  The Shards Universe came into being as early as 1974, when as a teenager, Prellwitz wrote two short stories involving one heroine and imaginative, futuristic technologies.  Over the years, Prellwitz continued to write short stories centering around incredible technological advances and the affects they have over the population at large.  In 1994, he began his first novel – a four-part series entitled Shards.  From this series sprang numerous tangent stories each one creating more opportunities for off-shoots and before long, The Shards Universe was made up of numerous novels, novellas, and short stories, with no end in sight.

            My venture into the Shards Universe began with samples of four ebooks created by Peter Prellwitz.  The excerpts are between 30 and 40 pages long and contain at least one or two chapters.  Each of the four ebooks represents a different section of the Shards Universe timeline.

            Shards: Book One is the book that begins it all.  Set in 2026, the story centers around John Wyeth, Senior Project Leader for NATech, an ultra-secretive think tank.  Wyeth was on the fast track to becoming the Director of the facility when the unthinkable happened – his mind was erased.  When it was restored, John Wyeth was no longer in the 21st Century, but rather the 27th Century.  He owes his thanks to a group of resistance cell members bent on stopping the technology that allows for minds to be rewritten – technology Wyeth’s former employers helped to develop.  Shards: Book One is written in the first person, which can make things a tad bit confusing when Wyeth’s brain is scrambled.  And yet, that confusion lends a realistic feel of the story.  The reader understands completely the confusion Wyeth experiences in having his mind rewritten and restored.  The idea of the government rewriting the minds of criminals and malcontents is horrifying, yet believable.  The fact that this technology could conceivably be used by corrupt individuals to get rid of their competition/enemies is completely credible.  I was completely intrigued by the story and was taken off guard when I reached the end of the sample, wishing there was more of the novel to read.

            Horizons takes place in 2259 aboard a starship named Horizon, one of the few ships able to travel via the use of faster-than-light stardrives.  Captain Pamela Carlson and Third Engineer Mahlon Stewart have been crew members of the Horizon since the ship’s inception.  They’ve trained hoards of recruits and explored unknown regions of space.  Through it all, their love for one another, though kept in check by both parties, survived.  When a new technology is created that allows for inexpensive, risk free faster-than-light travel, a corporate behemoth steps forward in an attempt to put an end to the discovery once and for all.  A series of murders take place and Carlson and Stewart are put in the difficult position of taking on enemies bent on destroying the future of space travel as well as their crew.  I usually love science fiction novels that involve starship travel, but found this one to be a tad dry and boring.  The only intriguing part of the story was the unrequited love of the Engineer and the Captain.  There was also an interesting scene involving a security team member who is thrown in with a group of “rewritten” people and transported to another planet for hard labor and destined for death.  Otherwise, this is one I could easily pass on.

            Promise Tide takes place in 2415 and chronicles the adventures of Deborah Promise Mariner, the last known representative of the Pisces species.  The Pisces species, a humanoid species able to survive under water as easily as they do on land, was developed by NATech centuries before.  Years before, Deborah’s entire species was wiped out.  Since then, she has been plagued by dreams of her Grandfather who entreats her to follow his quest.  When approached by a resistance cell bent on overthrowing NATech before it destroys the world, Deborah is convinced that this is the path she is destined to follow.  However fatalistic that path may be, Deborah vows to honor her grandfather's memory by completing his quest.  This story was incredibly intriguing.  The character is someone that one can easily relate to (despite the underwater breathing gills).  In this book, Peter Prellwitz dabbles in same gender affairs and does so successfully, neither down-playing its impact on his characters, nor making it an overbearing issue.  From the very beginning, the story is action-packed and suspenseful.  Again, I was left wanting more!

        The Science of Magic begins in 2953, a time in which mankind has discovered how to harness magic through the use of scientific code.  The story centers around Kerri Marks and her descendants as they work to use scientific code to create magic and ultimately save the universe.  The excerpt contains two chapters.  One explains the beginning of the Marks family's ascendancy to the higher plane of magic.  The other follows one of the Marks family prodigies in space.  This particular tale was difficult to follow with all of the scientific and mathematical coding.  Just when you think about putting this book down, one of Marks’ descendents recreates a once lost ship, discovers that the ship and crew were destroyed by someone with evil intentions, and brings you back with a tale of mystery and intrigue.

        What makes these stories so intriguing is that they are all intertwined.   There are endless possibilities as to what spin-off stories can be created based on characters and occurrences (however minor they seem) found in other stories.  Prellwitz has created a world with an endless supply of stories to be told – his very own universe in which he is the master over a multitude of characters spanning centuries.  His website, Shards Universe, contains a timeline which assists readers in understanding the order of the stories he writes, as well as what fictional occurrence (scientific breakthroughs, wars, etc.) took place that had profound affects on stories within the timeline.  It is a very useful tool for any Prellwitz fan.  There are also other helpful areas such as the Research Laboratory and the Glossary which defines all of the crazy scientific terms found in any particular adventure by Peter Prellwitz. 

            That’s what is so special about Prellwitz’s work – the adventure.  The reader is lured in by the sense of adventure in the very beginning of one story, and finds his/herself sucked into the adventure, yearning to seek out more and more until the whole of the Shards Universe has passed before the reader’s eyes.  But, alas, it seems that the Shards Universe is never-ending.  Infinite possibilities abound in this universe, and it is this humble reviewer’s opinion that Peter Prellwitz aims to put to word every possible adventure that could occur in the Shards Universe, much to the glee of Shards Universe fans everywhere.


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