The Nexus Nebula Saga
The Nexus Nebula Saga
Musings on books, writing, fatherhood, and other clichés.
Four out of five Charlies.
A Difficult But Worthwhile Read on Violence, Masculinity, and a Hundred Other Topics.
WARNING: There is no speed-reading here. This tome is not an entertaining weekend read. This is an undertaking. I had to put it down, sometimes for weeks at a time, to digest the volume of information and emotion before moving on. I read this book over a period of four months.
One cannot simply explain in a hundred words what SANCTION is “about.” I was given this recommendation by several different people and I read existing reviews on Amazon before deciding to read this book. As you can see there, it means something a little different to everyone, and your own experience will form part of the pastiche. Part of the value of being among McClay’s readership is that everyone you talk to can offer a differing perspective.
There is no linear plot so much as there is a concurrent series of events providing the backdrop for meditations on the human condition, specifically what it means to be a masculine man in an increasingly indifferent world. McClay offers eloquent reflections on dominance hierarchies, psychology, technology, nature, violence, anatomy and physiology, sexual morality, drug use, politics, and a whole mess of stuff that I probably forgot.
The plot, as revealed gradually through a non-chronological narrative, is about an intelligent and sensitive man named Lyndon McLeod. Fed up with the pettiness and slights and double-crosses of the people around him, Lyndon commits 46 murders.
As an inmate, Lyndon is then used as a basis for a cloning program by a corrupt scientist-turned-Governor, looking to seed his constituency with millions of people genetically inclined to vote in certain ways. Once this is done, the Governor’s biological supercomputers, MO and Isaiah, take the liberty of hijacking this project, using the clones as a vast network of soldiers and assassins.
Meanwhile, a set of elite clones named Blax and his four Jacks carry out missions at Isaiah’s command, stealing priceless historical artifacts and valuables. They seem to be saving these items from whatever is coming next.
The full picture is unclear and it is meant to be. McClay claims that this work has no answers, it only raises questions. That being said, this book is not without some issues. It is a first novel, and is often overwrought and impenetrable in its prose as a new author’s first work tends to be. The sheer size of the volume will be a barrier for some, and the disordered timeline will turn off casual readers. These attributes can be said to be part of the style and voice of the book, and it is clearly not intended for those casual readers. Even so, it could do with some formal editing, as it is often rife with formatting issues. There are grammatical errors, which are forgivable in a work of this size, but the most distracting error I found was that the spelling of one character’s name was not consistent.
Four stars for an excellent if somewhat ponderous first outing. I have already purchased the second volume and I am reading through it with even more zest. McClay shows rare skill and promise, and if you are prepared for the trek you will not be disappointed.
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Kevin C Hensley
Modernization brings increasing social control. Young men taking responsibility and having families are our best hope of pushing back against what is coming. I write fiction geared toward encouraging them to do so.