The Quest of the Singular Keepers
by Cliff Ratza
Lightning Brain Press

"And then she leaped out. One officer from each squad did likewise and zapped her with Trasers. She went stiff before toppling to the pavement face-first."

Set in 2162, the Electra-Irani-Alisha trio, the three entities inhabiting the same physical body, are back in this third installment of Ratza's series. Aided and mentored by the advanced AI, or Singularity, known as Indira, the trio has decided to step down from their position as Secretary of Health and Housing Services. As they share this news with President Genesee Huston of the United States, they suggest Eve Cortez, one of their clone children, as a replacement. Continuing to monitor the global political and military machinations, the trio redirects focus to their research into various disciplines around the globe. In addition, the trio's main aim is to figure out who is behind the secretive Bigger Brother organization, which has agents in multiple countries and plans to shape the world's future on the terms they dictate. On top of this, the trio must keep their lightning brain, which gives them intellectual superiority, and the Singularity hidden while guiding their clone children and orphans they take in along the way.

Ratza's third part of his Keepers Series continues the science fiction adventure with traces of futurism. In his book Astounding, Alec Nevala-Lee says that part of the core of science fiction is the "persistent dream of an exclusive society of geniuses." This idea relates to Ratza's book. Reminiscent in some ways of works by both L. Ron Hubbard and Ayn Rand, this story is as focused on the heights of a human being's intellectual, physical, and emotional development as it is on the adventure/conspiracy story it contains. The protagonist not only has three separate intelligences which can communicate and work alongside one another, but she also seems capable of handling any task at the highest human levels. Throughout the work are sections discussing, among other things, philosophy, marine biology, quantum physics, poetry, alien life, androids, sexuality, and politics. Although none of the discussions are so deep that the overall storyline becomes lost, many offer thought-provoking theories, sometimes even bullet-pointed presentations, as to what may be the best course for humanity to take concerning the discussed subject. In some ways, the book allows the author to reflect on the future of current events. Science fiction readers who enjoy the works of old-school, philosophical writers will find plenty to keep them occupied here.

Stylistically, the writing is generally clear and grammatically correct. The pacing is much slower than a lot of science fiction, but considering the nature of the discourse on ideas throughout the work, this is not to be unexpected. At the same time, the plethora of information told to the reader, often at the expense of showing and maintaining a sense of immersion, sometimes impairs the reading experience and causes the adventure story within to become lost and feel somewhat perfunctory. Also, the conspiracy group and how they have operatives all over the world manipulating and influencing the largest countries and corporations is a great concept that could be more fully realized. However, readers who thrive on exploring theoretical threads in their fiction and are willing to follow the author on diverse paths through a sprawling science fiction narrative will find lots to consider in this novel.

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