Golgotha Falls by George Udenkwo
Review by Floresiensis
The story is set in a metropolis of ninety million souls known as Golgotha Falls and features sixteen tales chronicling the spider-god, Desdemona, one of the cityís most feared deities. The book is a mixture of gothic, horror, science fiction and fantasy containing vivid characters, a pulsating narrative and more action than you could ever hope for. The tales cover a period spanning several weeks in which the destinies of the spider-god and the city itself unfold.
I have to admit that I am not an avid reader of science fiction / fantasy and that Golgotha Falls marked a journey into the not very well known. Of the science fiction that I have read, the opening chapter put me in mind of Philip K. Dickís Do Androids Dream Of Electronic Sheep; such was the vibrant description of the seedy and somewhat hopeless existence of the mortals within this city of gods. Golgotha Falls hits the ground running, the opening chapters are fast paced, action-packed and they quickly introduce us to the fascinatingly sordid city that is Golgotha Falls. Although the book is splits into sixteen separate tales, they are all sequential and this allows the book to gain a momentum that is essential for reading enjoyment. Lady Desdemona is a great central character; a merciless killer with questionable morals, Djoba is a great sidekick and as peculiar as they come. George Udenkwo describes all his characters in painstaking detail and this enables the reader to fully realise the authorís vision. The concept behind Golgotha Falls is an intriguing one, not like anything I had come across before.
Earth was dying.
Mankind had long since spread its seed to the stars from whence, myth suggests, the species first came. Ninety-five percent of the planet was uninhabitable, lashed by hyperstorms and chocked with volcanic fallout that left once blue skies charred and lightless. Those that chose to remain on the mother planet confined themselves to the last seven terran cities. These cities were vast, each containing over a hundred million inhabitants. Each city was environmentally self-sufficient, contained within Q-shields that insulated them from the planetís hostile climate. They relied on off-world imports to sustain their huge populations as well as advanced technologies to manufacture food resources.
Earth was sterile. Where once the planet cradled man, providing him with all he needed, now only technology sheltered him, only science provided for him, only faith sustained him.
Not faith in the old abstract gods, the unseen architects of manís destiny. There were new gods to guide man now, gods of flesh and bone. Originally bred from gene vats to serve man, they would ultimately become his lords and masters.
These genetic super beings were known as the Elohim. They had been adapted to survive in the deep of space, to discover new worlds for their creators to colonise. But the creation grew to powerful for the creator; the Elohim returned from the stars, enslaving all the colony worlds in their path, claiming themselves masters of the species, the natural metamorphosis of man into god.
The war between mankind and the Elohim raged on a thousand worlds, setting the stars on fire, consuming the species in an inferno of its own making. It was a war that endured for a thousand years before the last strongholds of man fell to the might of the gods. It was the Elohim that scorched the earth, destroying the last of its natural habitats in their quest to subdue the symbolic cradle of man.
The war, declared the Elohim, would not end until the earth itself had fallen.
In year zero of the divine calendar earth at last fell.
To celebrate this ultimate triumph the Elohim named themselves after the gods of old and built seven divine cities, each presided over by an autonomous group of gods.
The mightiest of these cities was the city of Golgotha Falls.
Golgotha Falls is written in the first person perspective with the reader allowed inside the mind and eyes of the major character of each of the sixteen chapters. In the main this is Lady Desdemona, but there are exceptions to this. I am a fan of the first person narrative as it allows the reader to better understand the emotions of the characters you are reading about. One of the sixteen tales that was not told from the perspective of the spider-god was Cromby and Nice, a wonderful futuristic fairy tale that was, in my opinion, the finest chapter in the book. Cromby and Nice tells a tale of manís folly, of a man whose very desires are there for the taking but falls to the male illness of always wanting more. I cannot speak highly enough of this chapter.
Permit me to explain that I am manager of Cromby and Nice (rhymes with niece) fashion fraternity. I run a workshop of some three hundred apprentice tailors and meets deadlines of such punishing exactitude as to swallow a lesser Pantomon whole Ė but I preserve, day in, day out, month after month, year after year, without so much as a whimper of complaint. Thatís the kind of Pantomon I am.
There is obviously a lot of George Udenkwo in Golgotha Falls, all of his inspirations, loves, favourite books and films. There are lashings of Norse, Greek and Roman mythology. Udenkwoís intelligence and passion come through clearly in his work Ė he is also an author of frightening imagination. The book made me use my brain and gave me the inclination to further research the figures of mythology mentioned in the tales. I would happily recommend George Udenkwo and Golgotha Falls to readers who enjoy a fine mixture of science and fantasy in their books. Golgotha Falls is a stunning debut from an author of exceptional imagination.
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