Strike! Sixth Part by John Francis Sissons

Strike! Sixth Part: Marilyn Carter, Daughter of Hairy Pig, Human Engineer
by John Francis Sissons

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John Francis Sissons’ Strike! Sixth Part: Marilyn Carter, Daughter of Hairy Pig, Human Engineer introduces us to the Galleries, an underground, technologically advanced world that survives and flourishes in the wake of fallout and destruction on the Earth’s Surface. This also home to the Hansa people and a place where people regularly live to 120, where rational thought and a harmonious way of life prevail, and where the conflict and war of the Surface people are only distant, ancient memories… Marilyn Carter, however, has not forgotten. As a half Hansa half Surface person, Marilyn is already somewhat of an anomaly across the spheres of the Galleries, but her telepathic ability (known as mind-talk), the connection in her mind to ancient souls who serve as mentors and guides, and her destiny as a Shaman throw her plans to enter the police force into sudden disarray. How will Marilyn’s growing renown as a prodigal commanding police officer and innovative brain surgeon give her the privacy and space needed to pursue her destiny and her duty to her family, and especially to her father, the storied Surface soldier Hairy Pig?

This is an adventurous work that looks critically at the role of the law, the notion of justice, and the moral concern that Marilyn faces as a public servant: sacrificing her self for the good of the public, or placing individual desires above her duty to society. However, as much as these questions are asked, they are unfortunately not all given the necessary space to be answered in full. While the breadth of the plot is sweeping and ambitious, it at times falls short of its potential to fully engage the reader. The interiority of Marilyn’s ‘mind-talk’ with her father and her other spiritual guides does allow us to witness moments of doubt or trouble more viscerally, but they are so frequently woven into the narrative that they overshadow the action at hand from time to time. Sissons has crafted a world that definitely lives by its own rules, yet some of the schema in place could be loosened for the sake of the story unfolding.

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