Rating: 4.0 out of 5 starsI’m not going to summarize the book. That’s what the blurb is for. This review is intended to convey my impressions of the story’s message as I interpreted it. Imagine a world removed from radical actions and violence perpetrated in the name of God, country or self. Imagine a world that uses science, reason and goodwill as the foundation for its endeavors. As a logical thinker myself, this book resonated very strongly with me because I, too, could never comprehend all the terrible things that people have committed throughout history against other people, in many cases both sides believing they were right. Righteous would probably be a better analogy because, of course, religious beliefs were responsible for many of the atrocities, but not all. Many people think that science and religion cannot coexist. Perhaps that is because science is perpetually questioning everything that we know and challenging itself to prove it. Religion is defined by the tenets and knowledge of the past which was based on what humans perceived as the truth thousands of years ago. “The Fifth Prophet” proposes instead that science and spirituality can, and do, exist. In fact, the more science discovers about the universe the more it points to an underlying plan, fundamental laws that stitch together not just our space but multiple planes of existence that we can only guess at. If all this sounds very deep and philosophical, good. That’s what this book is supposed to do, make you think. The ideas presented in this book are not radical. Rather, I like to believe that this is the direction that mankind should be evolving toward, a world where all people realize we aren’t here to fight and compete against each other. Rather, that our enlightenment can only come from understanding and acceptance of each other. It is our differences that truly unite us. Kudos to the author for weaving together many ethnically different characters and doing it well, preserving their beliefs, cultures and sensitivities in a way that maintained their individuality. The book ends with many questions still left unanswered but continues as part of a series of “The Family of Man.” As an added layer of reality, I started reading this story before the Corona virus pandemic began but the parallels between it and the author’s fictional “Bin Laden’s Breath” were both astonishing and terrifying. G. R. Paskoff
Rating: 5.0 out of 5 starsNice flow and an totally unpredictable journey but with familiar stops along the way. Covers connections in science and philosophy wrapped within a science fiction story. Recommend! John Bush
Rating: 5.0 out of 5 starsYou’re in for quite a ride in Dr. A.R. Davis’ Time Travelers are Schizophrenic. A Martian genealogist finds himself trapped between the cosmic forces of the past and the future as he tries to protect reality from an evil entity. Davis always has great plots with depth and manages to present them in a way that’s easy to understand but also makes you think. I’m looking forward to seeing where else The Family of Man series can take me that it hasn’t already gone yet! Joshua Grant, diabolicshrimp.com
Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Have you ever heard that you shouldn’t discuss religion and politics with your friends? Well, throw that out the window. Dr. A.R. Davis doesn’t shy away from these tough subjects with his speculative fiction novel The Fifth Prophet. We follow Sam, a seemingly normal scientist and average Joe until one day God chooses him to be His next prophet. One of the things I loved about this novel was how much depth and scientific knowledge Dr. Davis adds to his work. This is a cool story, but especially in the way it makes you think. If you’re looking for a novel that’s not necessarily easy but worthwhile, then check out The Fifth Prophet! Joshua Grant, diabolicshrimp.com
Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars
This was quite an intriguing read! A dog (or so we think) who can read minds. Two young people traveling between worlds. An Uber pickup and a storm… and suddenly the night sky is filled with twice as many stars. Two words: Not. Good. And then our characters Katie, a teen science prodigy, and Joe, a driver and tech whiz, are caught in the midst of interstellar war, fighting to save mankind. Cassidy (the border collie/alien) was adorable. I’m always a sucker for a great dog scene, and combine that with super-smart alien mind and she stole the show. Author A.R. Davis has some simply lovely prose. The world-building is unique and takes you for one heck of a ride. The text is complex and the story richly woven, at times a little tricky to unravel. There were quite a few characters in this one… and one heck of an intense story. It will definitely appeal to sci-fi fans who love a complex mystery.
Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Two super smart teens and a telepathic dog are the shining stars in this story. Besides them you’ll meet a plethora of alien species within the author’s complex (and sometimes downright complicated) world building. It may have been too much story packed into one novel as I could easily see it being a trilogy instead. Great imagination and descriptions. I’d recommend it for lovers of hard/metaphysical science fiction. By Misty
PERTURBATIONS OF THE REALITY FIELD by Dr. A. R. Davis
16/02/2018 Tammy Davies Book Review, Science Fiction
Put on your physics thinking-caps and prepare for planetary travel as you dive into “Perturbations of the Reality Field,” a science fiction novel by Dr. A. R. Davis.
Earth has moved. The stars are no longer where they belong in the sky, and Joe—a young driver-for-hire—is recruited by an alien disguised as a dog to be the ambassador to of Earth. He meets Katie—a brilliant young woman with physics and metaphysical theories that challenge the current status quo—and the two become fast friends. As the danger of alien invasion looms, Joe, Cassidy (the dog), and Katie work toward saving the planet and making allies of other alien worlds.
The book begins with Joe rescuing a dog left out in a storm chained to a post as he picks up a US Senator from the train station. As the three head for his vehicle, an event happens, and the Earth is moved to a different location in space. This event sets the stage for the rest of the novel, where Joe, the dog, and the Senator rally forces to protect the Earth from invasion—or annihilation.
Joe and Cassidy, the dog, travel in his Ford Escape to other planets to try and make allies or gauge the threat to earth. But when they accidentally kill a holy being on one of the worlds, they are forced to flee and hope no one will realize what planet they came from. Meanwhile, Katie is given unique resources by the US Senator to conduct her theoretical research, meeting with human and alien specialists in efforts to bring her theories to fruition.
The book contains vivid imaginings of a variety of other worlds, as well as what the alien species could be like. Each has a foundation in religion or community. The theoretical research Katie conducts targets a very particular audience for this book, giving it both vivid imagery and depth of physics and theoretical ideology unmatched by other books.
But while the cinematic visuals and creative theories succeeded at captivating me, the pacing fell short at keeping me engaged. Joe spends most of the book traveling to other planets and encounters very little resistance. Katie spends the entire book working on her theories with disappointing results.
While the novel’s premise offers excellent potential for significant action and interplanetary interaction, the author develops the story with little regard for proper pacing. The ending left me wanting, with more questions remaining than the book answered.
Despite this, I would recommend this book to anyone with interest in physics, theoretical ideology, and the need to expand their minds beyond the known into the unknown.
Bucknell Magazine, Fall 2017
The Mind and the Muse: Reviews & Criticism
Alan R. Davis ‘68
Perturbations Of The Reality Field (Createspace)
In his latest book, Alan Davis ‘68, suggests that when the spiritual and the physical universes collide, a cosmic mystery places humanity into a stellar prison where other inmates are dangerously nearby. Will mankind succumb to the same distractions as its alien predecessors: the struggle for survival, the quest for power, the fanaticism of faith and the random ravages of nature? A telepathic border collie gathers a young cab driver, a teenage physics prodigy and a washed-up diplomat into a cell in the Resistance. Why were they chosen? What can they do? Will humanity be destroyed by barbarians or absorbed by an alien empire?
Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Hard to put down.... Swept up with six unlikely companions traversing a yellow brick road through a perplexing, unpredictable alternate universe, pocked marked with riddles puzzles, and surprises; where mathematical logic, scientific instruments, and courage are of no avail avoiding the Summoner's soul seeking designs, nor enough to figure out the way back home - your not in Kansas ! By Steve Russo
Rating: 3.0 out of 5 stars
It reads a little like Philip K. Dick writing The Phantom Tollbooth, which is both good and bad. Also, it should have had at least one more run-through by a good copy editor, for several reasons. The plot is complex and interesting, with a strange entity selecting an odd blend of characters for a test, a puzzle, or something more sinister. It's a bit like the Twilight Zone story "Five Characters in Search of an Exit," but with many more twists and turns. The tale involves what may be an alien world, another dimension, or a mindscape. In fact, it doesn't matter which, in many ways. The characters are mostly interesting, but I didn't care for the entity behind the curtain. Just too annoying. Davis came up with some very interesting aliens, but I wish more care had gone into their descriptions. It was honestly difficult for me to remember which race looked like what, because their behavior was so often interchangeable. That said, the book had weaknesses which could have been fixed. The first is the odd punctuation. One of the characters has a vaguely Caribbean accent, and the way his words are written is just nonstandard enough that it's distracting. For instance, common usage when a letter is not pronounced due to an accent is to MARK the letter. So, for an accent which causes the final "g" of a word to be unpronounced, you'd write " somethin' " rather than "somethin". This makes a difference because this odd accent sometimes leaves off the FIRST letter sound of a word. It took me a while to puzzle out what "ou" meant. Anyway, other non-standard usages involved things which are normally compound or hyphenated words, but in this book are not. The second is that one of the characters is an odd version of the author himself, and the story refers to the character having written the books which are, in fact, the books of A. R. Davis. Unfortunately, this comes across as almost a sales pitch, which could have been avoided. The ending felt weak in comparison to the story itself, and I found the ending to be a little unsatisfying as a result. Still, if you liked Philip K. Dick's stranger works and want something along those lines, then you would probably enjoy this story. By Nick
Bucknell Magazine, Winter 2013
The Mind and the Muse: Reviews & Criticism
Alan R. Davis ‘68
Singularities of the Soul of Stephen Xi (Authorhouse)
Since retiring as professor of computer science and mathematics at St. John’s University, Alan Davis inhabits other worlds, worlds of his own making in the Family of Man science fiction series. In the latest volume, Singularities of the Soul of Stephen Xi, he considers the significance of creation myths and those who fall from grace. His protagonist, Stephen Xi, must follow his shattered sould through the land of the Foreverones, where humans are a minority among the Airclimbers, Roboworms, Ssstiessens and other species who present an array of physical and mental challenges for Stephen. Davis succeeds in melding the cerebral with action in a richly imagined world.
Rating: 5.0 out of 5 stars
The Fifth Prophet is an epic. It brings forth many incredible questions that all people should be asking themselves. What if it all changed and we went another direction? I found the writing a solid four-stars, but the ideas and originality were worthy of 5-stars. I wish more authors and readers would consider philosophical fiction an important part of their library. By Zoltan Istvan
This is the first book in a long project to follow the "Family of Man", from this Order's conception in the mind of lottery winner Sam. Vague ideas grow from the tiny seeds of concern Sam has for the future of Mankind. Eventually, in the subsequent books Davis takes us on a journey out into hyperspace as from small beginnings the Family comes to be the saviour of our species. As I write this review, there are already an additional two books in this series. At this point in the grand saga we suspect that ideas were planted in the mind of Sam by a creative spirit, or a dying civilisation, but will we ever know for sure? Imagine a just passed time-line, which is the history here, a chronology that in the next book heads off into outer space.
Imagine a present that had gone just slightly differently than it did from the 2008 U.S. presidential run. Imagine a new order that grew not out of mirrored and combative fundamentalist religious doctrines or out of our traditional political philosophies, but out of the work of those who look to the most substantive inheritance of our forefathers. I mean our fundamental science. I take you back to Capernicus and Galilao, to the new religion of scientific logic which grew out of the Renaissance. By October 2007 ideas were cementing themselves in Sam's head. "What we need to do is kill Religion, and let God live!"
This is a fantastic, and a fantastical idea. Davis has created a huge concept, of which this book is its "foundation". It could never have been mathematical exactitude, but then it would be rather frightening if science fiction ever could be. However, there is still the probability that this story could still have many parallels with reality. The fact that we have already progressed someway beyond the start is actually something of a relief. We can be left to enjoy the story without any fear that we are reading the lecture notes of some "religious" prophet.
Watch the birth of new "empire", the beginning of Davis's vision of the flow of science into the future. This is true science fiction, a "mathematically" plausible future, even though the course is already deviated. I have read the series so I know plausibility will not be lost however fantastical this story, or our real journey, becomes. True Science Fiction is the projection of logic into distant futures. Fantasy can be given reign to swirl within the frame, but we need the frame. Mathematics provides the rhythm, the beating heart of life on which we build history. The "Fifth Prophet" builds a history from which Davis's future vision steadily soars.
There is more detail here than is easy: as there is in even the simplest of binary mathematics, as there is in any possible "genesis". Only a base equation is easy, and never its application. Every profound exploration needs a solid weave in its structure, and the weaves of the hyperthreads of our future are no different. This book is followed by Time Travelers Are Schizophrenic, which shortly after you have read this I predict you will be reading. Oh! But for the detail Dr. Davis! It does work, I assure you, though at times I sort of wonder if some of it could have rested in the record, in "The Book" we never read, rather than on the page. Readers of Isaac Asimov will have some idea of what I mean about sometime detail, but that hasn't stopped that man being the greatest writer of the possible future that fiction science has yet seen. Am I getting carried away? You are the judge of that. I am not suggesting that Davis is a new Asimov, but I do believe there is the foundation of something special here.
If you are looking for the most exciting SF book you can find this isn't it, but if you have any interest in probability, possibility, and roads untraveled I genuinely believe you will enjoy it. In case I have given the wrong impression there is nothing dogmatic, or over difficult here. This is just a good fiction read. And the excitement, well that builds into the future as well, rather as in that greatest of true fantasy, Tolkien's Middle Earth. By Richard Bunning
This amazing book manages to draw together disparate themes from sci-fi, speculative fiction, dystopian science, mathematics and religious and social philosophy, and still be a really exciting space adventure.
The Fishman species roam space as buccaneers raiding and destroying weaker and alien forms, like mankind. These level 3 creatures operate as, supposedly unauthorised privateers for the level 1 Foreverones’ Empire. This vast conglomeration of subjugated species is a dominant force in our Universe. Before the Fishmen attack planet Earth and mankind’s colonies on the Moon and Mars, humans hadn’t even come to the notice of the Empire, and so we remain as an unclassified prey species. What is left of mankind abandons the Earth to hide in isolated groups in the Multiverse. We particularly follow one group whose spacecraft crashes on Al Theris and struggles to survive like pioneers in the “Wild West” of 18-19th Century America, only in a far more alien world.
Under the guidance of a spiritual leader, Krizel Kane, they learn to rebuild and enhance the elements of the physical “contex”, allowing the expansion of thought and a form of telepathic communication. This type of brain expanding implant allows individuals to think on many levels solving different mental problems at the same time. Eventually mankind must face slavery or stand against the Empire. There is a good deal of originality in the construction of space and its variant life forms, but also plenty of connections with a hundred years of science fiction.
The book is very well written, in an easy style. The first, and short, part of the novel needs reading without worrying about detail, as this book is a sequel to The Fifth Prophet, and Time Travellers are Schizophrenic. I read this third book first, and very quickly caught up with the essential elements of the story, and am delighted I made the effort. A very great amount of scientific and artistic thought has gone into this creation.
If in any way the human mind doesn’t merely predict but predetermines the future, then this vision is helping create a very interesting physical world. We have in Alan Davis a SF writer who adds true originality to our eclectic visions of futuristic times.
I have just started reading the Fifth Prophet- Hooked already. By Richard Bunning
Rating: 3.0 out of 5 stars
It's funny how this book ended up on my TBR stack...it fell on my foot. Yep. Weird things happen to me in libraries, but this one's a doozie.
I was hustling through the "New Arrivals" section of the Rockville Centre library, not pausing to look at the pretties because you can only have the new ones for two weeks and I already had six at home unread. There were two more books in my arms. I was looking towards the check-out line to determine which circulation lady was moving fastest when OWWW my right foot (the one whose great to is lost to gout) has a sharp pain!
I looked down in some surprise since I was in the main aisle, not near shelves or magazine racks, so not expecting to have stubbed my toe on something. It wasn't stubbed. Time Travelers Are Schizophrenic was ON TOP of my sneaker.
From whence it fell, I do not know. I don't shuffle my feet, so it wasn't scooped up by foot motion from the carpeting. It just...appeared...painfully...on my foot.
Not being a complete idiot, I picked it off the shoe and checked it out. I then read it. And, as is my requirement, re-read it so I could write a fair review of it.
It's a self-published novel, and I can see why. This type of space opera meets time travel book isn't an easy sell to publishers of SF, and add in a healthy dose of end-of-the-world action plus a romance and I can hear the editors at Ace and Tor limbering up their "reject" stamps.
Too bad for them, and for us. This is a good story, told by a fair writer, and possessed of a solid, expandable premise. It needs editorial guidance to expand certain characters's narrative purposes (Shamel and Krizel suffer from severe underutilization), and to avoid certain first-timer errors, like the telling of the plot versus the showing of the action (the Fishmen are quite glancingly reported too often).
But. (Isn't there always a "but" in my reviews?) The idea of a world altered out of all imagining by cheap, abundant, non-polluting power, and inhabited by a new, small minority of humans with true mental multi-tasking capabilities born right into them, and humanity in its billions living on the Moon and Mars...this is good stuff, albeit not brand-spankin' new. Our hero is an artist, nicknamed "Siv," whose eighty-year life is equivalent to our, say, forty. He creates "emoti-sims" which are entertainment vehicles much like our movies. He chooses weird, off-kilter subjects, following his muse...but he is, in fact, trying to piece together the story behind makind's mutant multi-mind capability, which he has in spades.
It's his search, and the strange alleys it takes him down, that give the book its title. Siv is a time traveler...he re-creates for emoti-sim eternity the moments that, in retrospect, are the crucial ones to the mutation's appearance.
I won't go into more details, but I will say that Dr. Davis has made this a very easy book to like, and one I think a lot of SF fans would accept. But I fear it won't happen, as self-publishing is still a ghettoizing stigma on a book.
Be a devil...buy this book, and like it or loathe it, donate it to your local library after you read it. Let freedom from corporate publishing ring! Why not? By Richard Derus