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In addition to creating the Birds of Flight series and the other award-winning science fiction stories, Future Prometheus and Intelligent Design, J. M. Erickson holds a BA in psychology and sociology from Boston College and a master’s degree in psychiatric social work from the Simmons School of Social Work. Certified in cognitive behavioral treatment and a post-trauma specialist, he is also a senior instructor of psychology and counseling at Cambridge College, visiting lecturer at Salem State University’s School of Social Work and a senior therapist in a clinical group practice in the Merrimack Valley, Massachusetts.
Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers' Favorite
J.M. Erickson’s Future Prometheus: Emergence & Evolution certainly does not disappoint his readers. Jose Melendez heads a US mission in Brazil where he witnesses a whole city’s male population going on a killing frenzy and ultimately being wiped out. An abnormal level of toxic steroids found in men is identified as the reason for the bizarre incident and worse, it is happening all over the world. Apparently, Melendez is immune from it and he becomes the key to eradicate the phenomenon. To examine his past, he is made to undergo cryogenic sleep but something goes horribly wrong. He wakes up after a hundred and sixty years of sleep to a world where mega-states are dominated by militant matriarchies, and populated by artificial persons and cybernetic life forms. With the help of cybernetic rescuers, he embarks on a mission to create a better world.
Fast paced, highly imaginative, and absolutely fascinating, Future Prometheus: Emergence & Evolution is a book that truly entertains. This is true for both fans of science fiction novels as well as for the general reader. The characters are quite interesting and varied. This is a story that tells of the struggles of the human species for survival. Threatened, we will go to extreme lengths in our quest for scientific knowledge because we believe it is the only way to save our race. This is also a story that reminds us of the risks that come in overreaching science and technology. In some instances, it can result in unintended consequences that can further disrupt the world as we know it.
I am awed by the fertile imagination of author J.M. Erickson in creating a new world order with very exciting characters. As a genius whose efforts to improve human existence may result in tragedy, the novel’s main protagonist is a character that you will not easily forget.
In Erickson’s (Eagle: Birds of Flight, 2013) dystopian sci-fi novel, a cryogenically frozen scientist wakes up in the year 2155 to find that he’s the only man in a matriarchal military state.
In 2019, Lt. Jose Melendez is a scientist on the autism spectrum who uses himself as a test subject in his innovative cryogenics research. When a sudden, unrelated pandemic causes nearly all adult men on Earth to become violent, Melendez is one of the few who are unaffected, and he soon becomes the subject of military testing. His work in cryogenics takes on a new urgency as it may hold the key to keeping mankind alive. He’s frozen as part of an eight-month cryogenics test, but he isn’t thawed until more than 150 years later. His rescuers are four cybernetic “artificial persons” who have been expelled from society for exercising free will. In this future world’s matriarchal society, all male youths are similarly “cast out” of society when they reach puberty. Melendez and the APs learn that the government is actually murdering the boys, despite the long-ago eradication of the original pandemic, so they form a guerrilla-style group to try to stop the killings. Meanwhile, Maj. Mare Singh tries to stay focused on her military career, but secretly spends all of her free time watching, through mirrored glass, the young son she was forced to give up. When she discovers that Melendez has implanted a computer virus into all APs, she soon learns of the murders, and she comes up with a plan of her own to save her son and the other boys. In this first, two-part installment of a planned series of novellas, Erickson artfully raises profound ethical and philosophical questions regarding class systems, gender equality, neurodiversity and what it means to be human. He draws on classical references, and especially literature, in his work, and readers will likely appreciate the way he beautifully weaves in references to Mary Shelley, H.G. Wells and other masters of science fiction. Overall, it’s dystopian literature at its finest.
A gripping story featuring well-constructed characters, poignant moral dilemmas and a chillingly realistic dystopian future.
"Just as she smiled, she heard a series of short, controlled bursts of gunfire—both from Pre-Fall, gas-propelled rifles and from electromagnetic assault rifles."
In these continued tales of the unfrozen Lieutenant Jose Melendez and his Omega Platoon of outcasts and misfits, the threat of Nemericana forces loom in the distance while a more sinister force rises in the artificial troops led by Aurora Prime. The fugitive Mare Sade Singh, former Nemericana soldier and an ally of Melendez, help him and his loyal APs avoid detection and maintain their independence while caught between two massive armies both determined to wipe them out. When the war escalates to unthinkable levels, Melendez, Singh, and the rest of Omega Platoon form an uneasy alliance with Nemericana to fight back against inhuman atrocities. In a war between women and machines, the unlikeliest of heroes will rise up to defend the rights of all people, not just the privileged.
This collection of three novellas picks up where the previous title leaves off, reintroducing popular characters and continuing the plot to its thrilling and action-packed climax. With solid science fiction balanced with Shakespearean quotes and believable character development, these stories draw the reader in and urge them to devour chapter after chapter. An imaginative mind can put together an enjoyable science fiction story with bizarre technology and strange social rules, but Erickson takes the medium to the next level with real, emotional, human moments, even from non-human characters. Balancing the hard sciences with the liberal arts, these sci-fi stories rise to tall heights and entertain from cover to cover with fast action and authentic interaction. These novellas are recommended for readers who like the fantastic delivered with a dose of realism and can handle some adult themes. - Michael Radon
RECOMMENDED by the USR
A new science fiction series penned by award winning writer J.M. Erickson Future Prometheus Emergence and Evolution delivers mind-boggling adventure set in a bleak and oppressive future world with the last of humanity forcibly propelled towards extinction. Divided into two novellas, this novel starts the series – the first novella being Emergence and the second is Evolution.
The first novella, Emergence brings readers to the future world on earth as it is falling apart while a virulent, incurable virus has caused the majority of the male population ages 18 to 70 go insanely violent, rampaging and murdering all other forms of life worldwide. Born out of fear and a lack of a cure, young males are cast out by society into the desolate world before they can reach the age of maturity/infection. Without reproductively viable males, the human race would eventually die out prompting the urgent need for a plan to repopulate earth. With marshal law, in effect while a handful of surviving women are in power with the world divided into four mega states. Robot assistants are relied upon to help with many daily and specialized tasks.
Desperate for a solution they look towards their one glimmer of hope - the savior of the story (and of humankind) Lt. Jose Melendez. While a male already in his thirties Melendez is largely unaffected by the disease, and he exists as the only sexually viable male left who can restart the human race. An intelligent loner and an expert in cryogenics Melendez becomes an integral part of a mission to save the remaining women, children, and other viable men like himself. For temporary safekeeping, he is placed into cryogenic sleep for eight months.
Novella two, Evolution has Lt. Melendez roused, believing it is eight months later until he finds out that it is one hundred thirty two years later. He has awoken to a far grimmer scenario of life where there are fewer humans than before, young men still cast out regularly, and robots have become more pivotal in life as they serve in more controlling roles than before and have become sapient instead of sentient like their cyborg predecessors. Melendez remains the only sexually viable male to be found. Faced with the daunting task of restarting the race and running an army of robotic females that are progressively learning human female traits Melendez finds he himself the leader and savior of an estranged new world.
Overall, I completely enjoyed this book and as a fan of his prior work, the Birds of Flight thrillers I was not disappointed. As his premier work in the science fiction genre author J.M. Erickson delivers, a literate, sexually candid, and inventive science fiction read. Future Prometheus Emergence and Evolution is thought provoking Science Fiction that keeps the reader engrossed. I recommend this as a must read for mature readers. - Lisa Brown-Gilbert
Future Prometheus is about Melendez – a gruff, brilliant man with Asperger’s Syndrome who exists in a not-too-distant future in which a worldwide phenomenon causes most men to become testosterone-fueled, murderous lunatics. Old men, young boys and those who have no innate desire for companionship/sexuality (like our main character) are unaffected, as are nearly all women. It is really unfortunate for the male lead that he isn’t affected by sexual desire, because women offer him sex everywhere.He cryogenically preserves himself but in a nod to movies like The Matrix and Forever Young (even mentioning the former by name) Melendez spends a lot longer than expected in cryostasis and wakes up in a far distant future with a lot more knowledge than he had when he went to sleep. He finds himself in a world where women are in control, most male children are executed when they enter puberty and near-sentient robots (termed APs) fill out the roles of drones and servants in the megastates of this bleak future.If the above paragraph interests you, then there is a great chance that you will like Future Prometheus.
The book is competently put together, makes a ton of references to classic literature (roughly 5% of the book is quotes), has a robust amount of sensuality, a few comedic moments and a number of action movie-like sequences. The author does a very good job of writing tense military dialogue and debriefings feel like they naturally would throughout the piece. There are some good lines and the overall story is very interesting, if not a bit convoluted.The book does have some faults, though. There’s a lot of dialogue and interior monologue. There’s a lot of personal interaction. What there isn’t a lot of is environmental development. While we exist in this futuristic, sci-fi dystopia it is hard to find an anchor into the characters’ surroundings. This lack of atmospheric description is something science fiction relies on and it is lacking here.
The main character’s condition (Asperger’s) accounts for most of the tension in the piece, as he will often ruminate on the reactions of people around him and cannot pick up on social cues which drive most of the interaction for the first part of the book. Unfortunately the secondary character, a female involved in a polyamorous lesbian relationship, has nearly identical reactions to things – including sex. Further, they both share a deep, motherly love of children, which at times seems out of place for both. Melendez is also identified as a devout Christian in the beginning, although as the book goes on he seems to rely more on classic literature than gospel to get him through his trials. Religion seems to serve as an explanation for his sexual repression but little else, although he does often exclaim “Jesus, Mary and Joseph!” when the situation calls for it.If this review appealed to your senses you’ll find Future Prometheus worth your time. It should also be noted that this book is the first two parts in a series and there will probably be many more adventures for Melendez and his, dare I say, friends.I give this book 3.5/5 stars (rounded up to 4 for Amazon)
Future Prometheus: Emergence & Evolution by J.M Erickson is a fascinating dystopian story about a world after a virus has sent all sexually active men on a violent rampage that ends up with most of them, and a large proportion of the female and child population, dead.
The events in the book occur 140 years after this event and follow Melendez, a soldier, who, along with some APs (androids) wishes to re-establish a society based on the values of the old USA. He’s been in stasis in a cyrogenic tank since the disaster, though he was supposed to be under for only four months. A group of androids find him and bring him back. They become his friends, and he develops a program to bring them to sentience and eventually to sapience.He finds himself in a matriarchal, lesbian society. The women keep their boy children only long enough to harvest their sperm when they reach maturity, after which the women take them outside their megastate and kill them. Some girls are also discarded – the tomboys I expect. Men are seen as an enemy. The first step is to rescue the children, and Melendez and his team become a well disciplined and effective army who begin to do just that.It’s an interesting and entertaining story with a plot that moves at a good pace and introduces new characters as the story progresses so we get to know some of the women inside the megastate and get a glimpse of their life.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the story is the development of the PA’s personalities. In fact the characterisation is excellent all round, and some of the scenes were very moving, particularly the one where Melendez gently redirects a young boy’s desire to be a soldier to a role more suited to his abilities. The other one that made me sniffle a little was where Singh told her son that he was her mother.The tension rises in the end when PAs start to exhibit traits not in keeping with their programming. Sentience creates all kinds of people and therefore it is not unrealistic to expect the same variety in PAs. The suggestion is that not all of them are benevolent in their motivation. This aspect I expect will be explored further in following installments. The end certainly sets up for a sequel or two.
This is a good read and the small issues with the prose, can be easily be fixed should the author wish to take it up a notch. It’s certainly worth a read, and I recommend it to those who enjoy sci fi of the post-apocalyptic dystopian variety.
“Future Prometheus is one of the most original and well-crafted books I’ve read in a long time! I was completely drawn in from the get-go, and absolutely loved the author’s use of description and character dialogues, and his attention to detail in crafting the world-building. This is a sci-fi book, but there is something of everything… mystery, thriller, action, drama, history…love all the literary quotes! Excellent editing, and I will love to read more from J.M Erickson in the future… happy to see he has quite the backlist. Will be checking out his “Birds of Flight” series after this one." (5 stars) Cody Brighton; Goodreads, Librarything, Shelfari, Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers
"Excellent plot…only a few minor issues. The good part was that this is an excellent novel (well, 2 novellas, really) that captured my attention from the beginning and never once let it go. Each scene was riveting, imaginative, and well executed. The descriptions were good and kept to a minimum. There was no lull in the action…All in all a wonderful story with a great plot and characters that kept me eagerly glued to my kindle. The only problem for me was the heavy use of italics, which is hard for me to read. Almost got to the point where I wanted to skip the log entries as it was nothing but paragraphs of italicized text on my kindle. But I read it…This may not really bother some people, but it does me. HOWEVER, even with that said, I really did enjoy this book and would read more from this author. He has a natural gift for designing a brilliant, well-rounded story and developing unique, memorable characters." (5 stars) Laura Clarke; Goodreads, Librarything, Shelfari, Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers
“Future Prometheus: Emergence and Evolution is actually a set of two novellas (named Emergence and Evolution, respectively). I can’t quite say that I’ve ever really read anything like it before, a great combination of Science Fiction, but with a very modern, almost ‘pop-culture” feel and with the addition of the steady stream of famous (and not so famous) quotes from classics, it was a new experience for me all around, and one I really enjoyed. I liked Jose a lot, in fact all the characters were richly imagined and authentic. There are many complex subplots woven throughout and I can definitely see fantasy/sci fi fans really liking it. Ready for the next!" (4 stars) Gillian Hancock; Goodreads, Librarything, Shelfari, Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers
"Great book! I’m not one for rehashing the plot (that’s what the summary is for on the book description page), but trust me when I say you’ve never read anything like this before! It’s quite dense and is not for the stupid or feeble minded… trust me. But if you like science-fiction, action, dystopian, and/or literary fiction, you’ll enjoy this one. It’s not a fast and easy read by any stretch, but it will take you through new concepts and perspectives that you’ve never thought of before. Very cool!"(5 stars) Essie Harmon; Goodreads, Librarything, Shelfari, Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers
"At times I found myself wavering around while reading “Future Prometheus ” by J.M. Erickson. At first I was immediately grabbed into the story, and became immersed in the intricate world building and plot development. But there were times I felt the story wasn’t as focused as I’d like, with some conversations and scenes maybe weren’t necessary and perhaps could have been eliminated to tighten the narrative some. But at the same time, the pacing was fast and there was pretty much nonstop action and some unexpected crazy developments toward the end. It felt fresh and unpredictable in SciFi, always a nice experience, especially in a genre that is fraught with copycats. Really impressed with the way the author managed to find and use all those perfect references and quotes! I’d be interested in continuing on with this series, and would be interested in checking out other books this author has written as well." (4 stars) Jason Thackery; Goodreads, Librarything, Shelfari, Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers
"Wow, what an insane book! Holy bananas!! Okay, I don’t even know where to begin because so much happens and I don’t want to give anything away… “Future Prometheus: Emergence and Evolution” by J. M. Erickson is one of the most original and just flat out interesting fantasy/ science fiction novels I’ve ever read! I liked it for so many different reasons, first the writing was stellar. The strong word choice and fluid prose makes it a very easy book to sink into. There are enough descriptions where you can picture everything perfectly, but not so much that it bogs down the pacing. I wish I knew what the characters looked like better though, because some of them I had hard time keeping straight. I liked that there were things I haven’t seen in other books like this before and it just felt more “intelligent” than others I’ve read, I think because of the multi-dimensional plotlines that even while fantastical/futuristic still relate to the world today. Amazing job!" (5 stars). Stacy Decker; Goodreads, Librarything, Shelfari, Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers
Prism Truth on Future Prometheus Greetings! The Review Board here to share our thoughts on Future Prometheus: Emergence & Evolution.First let’s read the thoughts of Casey Prism:
“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” ~William Shakespeare.
Sergeant Jose Melendez is not a people person. His mild form of Asperger’s leaves him without the ability to read people or social situations. The result is a brilliant loner. In his brilliance and his desire to be a recluse he begins to play around with cryogenics. It’s his last deep freeze when the world goes bad and he’s basically forgotten. Fast forward one-hundred-fifty years. Roused from his sleep Jose awakens to a world far different from anything he’s seen before. Packs of diseased men have caused females to take over. The world’s population dwindles with few males left alive and those who are remain untrusted. Most males are cast out before puberty, left to fend for themselves. Jose’s way of life is gone and he doesn’t understand this new world or the logic behind it. With the help of a few cybertronic friends can he make a difference in this strange new world? There are a lot of good qualities about this book and only one thing left me with a bad taste in my mouth. The ending…it’s not even a cliffhanger—it just stops. Literally I sat trying to turn the page on my e-reader about five times before I realized it’s the last page. Smh. Prism Verdict: 8 out of 10 TRB Stars. I give Future Prometheus eight out of ten TRB stars for ingenuity and enthralling me, despite the abrupt finale.
Let’s shed some Truthful Takes:
Future Prometheus is definitely an interesting story and an original twist of the iconic “future world” premise of most Sci-Fi books. It’s full of strong characters, rich prose and entertaining spins. Let’s start off the with the premise of the story. Jose Melendez is a young man and soldier battling with Asperger’s Syndrome. It is a mental disorder which typically affects a person’s social emotional skills. It is on the Autism spectrum. Due to Jose’s genius in the scientific field he works with the military in many areas. At first we see him working with an experiment in cryogenic sleep. Suddenly we are transported to a rather short time in the future when the an odd type of air born virus has infected mankind. There is a virus that is being spread that is causing testosterone to rapidly increase and men to become very aggressive. During this we find that Jose is unaffected. Why? Because of his Asperger’s. One thing leads to another, war spreads, the world is heading towards a huge change. A change that will cause it to never be the same again. Next we are thrown 150 years in the future. Jose had went into what was initially supposed to only be an 8 month cryogenic sleep, however things go awry and he sleeps for 150 years. He wakes up an man out of time. He is surrounded by Artificial Persons (also known as Personal Assistants). The world has become untied, although also divided. Women now rule the world. What were once countries turn into Megastates. The former United States of America, is now called Nemerican. Male children as well as some female children are cast out when they turn a certain age. Everything is nothing like he remembers is.
In comes Mare Singh. She is a woman who is forced to give up her only child–a male son named Roberto when he was yet a baby. This is a situation that has haunted her, her child’s entire life. She wants nothing more than to be with her son and make things right, however she finds herself in the hard predicament of having to work for the government. As such she cannot go against their laws. Or can she? Future Prometheus is two novellas that have been put together into one story. It is divided as such as well.
Following are my pros and cons: There are very few Cons: There were some typos/mistakes throughout the text. It wasn’t terribly bad, but they were there. I suggest the author go through it with a fine tooth comb to bring this already good story to its utmost. Page 138-144, unattractive techno-babble inhibit that would have otherwise have been a perfect example of terrifically executed Sci-Fi. The ending is a very disappointing cliff hanger, at pretty much a massive scale. Just when I was thinking “Oh heck yeah, this is going to get good.” It cuts off. I hate cliff hangers. Pros: 1. Jose Melendez is one of my favorite characters in Futuristic Sci-Fi reads to date. This is probably because of the fact that he has Aspergers. Being that I’m a Autism mother, this is near and dear to my heart. I felt as though the author executed his personality in such an amazing way bringing him to life perfectly. He was outstanding to me. It was great seeing a person with this disability learn how to become a father to robots nonetheless. Magnificent. 2. I loved the recorded journal entries at the beginning of most of the chapters that featured Jose as the prime character. 3. I also loved the quotes at the beginning of each chapter that clued in to the subject matter of each chapter. 4. The level of research done in the book was obvious in the amount of details given–from quotes of old literature, to specifics in science and cryogenic sleep, as well as the technological bits. It was very impressive. The best Sci-Fi’s are written using scientific fact as the back bone. This book did that very well. 5. I just absolutely loved the AP’s! They were fabulous. It was tremendous seeing their growth from robots to humanoid, with “emotions” to boot. There were many elements in this book that I truly enjoyed as I’m the first to tell you that I’m a Science Fact & Fiction nut! LOVE THE STUFF! And Future Prometheus did not let me down.
Truthful Verdict: 9 out of 10 TRB Stars That being said, this story is well worth a polishing up. However, as it stands I cannot fully give it the whole 10 stars. So I’ll have to give it 9.