Review by Foreword Reviews

Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5

The Prophesy Gene is an intriguing ecological thriller and adventure.

Stuart D. Schooler’s The Prophesy Gene is a complex eco-thriller that employs elements of science fiction to draw its points out.

Cousins Sarah and Michael travel to Uzbekistan on Sarah’s research grant. Sarah is there to examine the effects of an environmental disaster in the Aral Sea. Michael is a journalist, trying to regain his reputation after a reportorial faux pas by tracking Sarah’s finds for his editor.

Camping near a massive animal die-off site, Sarah and Michael have a hallucinatory meeting with an invisible intelligence calling itself M’low Cloom—MC to the cousins. This being tasks them with a specific agenda and proves that it has the power to enforce its commands.

Schooler’s characters are fully realized.The familial banter between Michael and Sarah, who grew up together from early childhood, is well rendered. The love between them is obvious, even when they irritate each other. They are built up relatably and as individuals, with their own quirks, strengths, and foibles.

MC’s otherworldly presence provides the impetus for the cousins’ journeys and is believable despite the potential for oversaturation. Its nonterrestrial intelligence is powerful enough to make things happen around Sarah and Michael that persuade them to comply; the cousins are wary of MC as a result.

A former Soviet Army helicopter pilot, Oishkipeh, proves to be a solid foil to the cousins’ achievement of MC’s objectives. The pilot is not all that he first seems; he is working for someone else, and his methods of gathering information could have come straight out of a Soviet-era KGB manual.

Professor Peter Barber, under whose aegis Sarah has wrangled the funds and academic credentials to carry out MC’s mission, is the most stereotypical character in the book, with his penchant for younger women and desire for positions of power and fame. Sarah is aware of these flaws and exploits them for her own purposes.

The story is excitingly paced, moving forward steadily and never losing its sense of control. An abundance of detail marks the story as it progresses, but instead of taking the form of information dumps, specifics are spread evenly and reasonably through dialogue and narrative turns. Character backgrounds and the necessary amount of context are both delivered smoothly and naturally.

With engaging main characters, an alien force, and a compelling mix of genres, The Prophesy Gene is an intriguing ecological thriller and adventure.

Reviewed by J. G. Stinson
December 16, 2017

The Video Trailer is Rolling!

Where did the name M’low Cloom come from?

There have been some calls and e-mails about the origins of the name of what is arguably the main protagonist or antagonist in the story. One person has even been kind of close (thank you, Larry L.).  It honestly never occurred to me to reveal the source of the name in the story.  So, at this point, my thinking is that it probably won’t be disclosed until the second book in the series, which is an historical fiction mystery prequel. But, we’ll see.

Publication! GoodReads!

The hard copy first appeared in print on October 12, 2012, which we will call the “soft roll-out date,” because the e-book was delayed and the video trailer was trailing.  As of November 5, 2012, the e-book was available and I believe that the video trailer will be on YouTube and other outlets later today.  So, we’ll call November 7th the hard roll out date, from which promotion, advertising and hopefully positive book reviews will soon flow.

Finally, some of you may be familiar with the  website.  There is a lottery posted there for 20 randomly selected readers (who sign up for the lottery) to each receive a free copy of The Prophesy Gene. The sign-up has been pretty enthusiastic, so throw your name in soon and often! I don’t immediately recall the deadline, but it’s not within the next week.


Publication Update Redux

Prophesy Gene is done and will be available for distribution in about four weeks in hard copy and as an e-book.  Amazon, Barnes and Noble, the usual distribution networks. We should see book reviews out in the next couple of months.

The next book in the series is a historical fiction prequel set at the turn of the last century and ending around 1933. An irrelevant grudge match becomes, by necessity, the implementation of a diabolical plan.

Thank you all for your patience.

Is the Aral Sea disaster real?

The Aral Sea disaster of Central Asia is decidedly real and depicted accurately, even if slightly understated in the book.  Google “Aral Sea disaster” and you’ll see photos from space, infrareds, and descriptions of genetic anomalies, birth defects and cancer rates that may be among the scariest environmental threats on earth, not because they’re so pervasive, but because they are so tangible. We, humanity and governments, refuse to do anything about the Aral Sea disaster because it’s an important (albeit decaying) economic engine and food supply for a very subsistence survival region of our planet. Like many long-term affronts to our environment and the earth’s survival, we are going to ignore it until cotton farming doesn’t offer a sufficient payback for the devastation.  The fishing industry around the Aral Sea was decimated long ago, but because mom and pop fisherman don’t have the political organization of large industry, they will be left behind.

The Prophesy Gene works in the shallow end or the deep end of the pool. Doesn’t matter.

What would really happen if geneticists or physicists were able to scientifically confirm the existence of God, without rejecting any of the faith-based notions of God? Would those whose faith is the source of their convictions be forced to reject God, because their faith is no longer fundamental to their belief? And how would atheists react to a scientifically provable God?

You can think deep or just see a great adventure story.  It’s your choice.

Is the style Michael Crichton or Paul Coelho? Is it Science Fiction, Adventure Mystery or Metaphysical Thriller?

Sarah Baskin and Michael Seagal’s trip to Uzbekistan to investigate the 1980s Aral Sea environmental disaster leads to a mysterious discovery of a gruesome animal massacre and communications with a telepathic consciousness called M’lowCloom (MC). It tantalizes them with a worldwide odyssey that re­veals startling truths about the earth’s history and life’s evolution, as well as its own self-serving motives.

 Marrying hard science biotechnology with a full-throttle action thriller, The Prophesy Gene features a strong female protagonist in passionate pursuit of her life’s work. Doctoral student Sarah embarks on MC’s quest, convinced that it will provide her with scientific proof that humankind is destroying itself and the planet with reckless genetic engineering. Michael seeks to vindicate his faltering career as a serious scientific journalist, but his far more dangerous goal is to learn and expose the true identity of MC.

The first cousins are bound by more than genetics. Though glib and impulsive, Michael’s brilliant ghost-writing hides Sarah’s learning disabilities, while alluring Sarah helps Michael through his perpetually awkward phase with women. Using MC, the interdependent best friends pursue individual professional success, both with and in spite of each other’s manipulations.

As they ineptly globetrot from Antarctica through war-torn Sudan and to the toxic sulfur springs of Portugal, Sarah and Michael discover that a rare, shared recessive gene is the key to their invaluable telepathic relationship with MC. But MC will use them to destroy humanity if science continues to thwart natural selection and stifle the propagation of the genetic trait that embodies MC’s very existence.

If you believe that biological and nuclear weapons are the last frontier for global annihilation and that medical science has improved the quality of life, then The Prophesy Gene’s scientifically valid premise about evolution will leave you questioning your entire belief system.