TAU 4: VJ Waks: Authorhouse

tau 4 vj waks scifi cover louis welden hawkins the sphinx and the chimera artworkTAU 4: V.J. Waks

“A being known as TAU 4, the terrible and uncontrollable brain child of a brilliant, enigmatic and ruthless scientist.”

On a distant planet of the Homeworld Alliance, Dr. Stephen Weller, acclaimed expert in behaviour, is about to penetrate one of the greatest mysteries of his field. He spent months of planning and care to get access to Altair Base, a high security experimental research facility.

Dark work is afoot at this Base controlled by Dyle Carzon and his entourage, under the guise of its focus for the war efforts against the hostile planets of the Outworlds. Securely tucked away in Altair’s encrouching forest, the Base is a natural strong hold, both to enter, and to exit.

Weller meets the being known as TAU 4, a morph, spliced together from human and Altair animal, to learn of her ‘behavioural problems’.

Victoria J. Waks has sewn together an almost poetic narrative in her debut novel, TAU4.

The main characters are engaging enough that you want to learn more about them. TAU has her inner turmoil as she gets to grips with who and what she is.

The environments shone in the prose, and its not hard to believe they could be converted to the big screen (with minimal CGI). The characters’ feelings and their interaction and conflict was wholly realistic.

It’s not a typical scifi novel, as it doesn’t focus on technology (apart from the merging of two species), though technology is used as the background - by technology I mean lasers and spaceships and the typical stuff. I suppose it’s more of a space adventure, and to be honest I don’t normally find these engaging, but this is tight and ingenious with some of its plot twists and story arcs.

Above all though, I think it’s the writing, the way the author physically structure sentences, the words used to pull the story along, and the way there are bits of information introduced prior to them fully being realised in the narrative, which makes it a pleasure to read.

The only downside, which is a real personal thing, is that the font used in the book was a bit ‘ornate’, it took a while to settle down and get used to it (I trawled a few font sites but couldn’t find the name of it). But once that personal hurdle was overcome, it was plain sailing and a thought provoking read.

Yes, TAU4 is thought provoking, but so much more so because as I write, the hot topic in the UK news is the Embryo Bill - in part, it’s to vote on whether it should be allowed to create embryos with human DNA and animal cells.

So in summary, when I finally put the book down, I realised that certain images stayed with me, like the forest descriptions, The Phantom cruiser, TAU’s eyes; and this counts for a lot. It’s one of the best books of this sub genre I’ve read in the last twelve months, and saying that, I’m certainly looking forward to part two.

An added bonus is the relevant artwork on the front cover, which is The Sphinx And The Chimera, 1906 (Oil on canvas), by Louis Welden Hawkins (1849 - 1910).

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