Intelligent Design


Fiction - Science Fiction
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 06/12/2014
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

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.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Paul Johnson for Readers' Favorite

Around sixty-three million years ago, on the planet Mars, the balance between technology and nature has been achieved. That is until a catastrophic event occurs. The Gemini planetoids between Mars and Jupiter suddenly fall out of their orbits and are set for a collision course which will have a devastating effect. Master Architect Janus and his peers have a plan. Their plan is to preserve as much of their culture as possible, but at the same time set out to find their Creator.

Millions of years later on planet Earth, Lieutenant Colonel David Farrell is baffled by a conspiracy that defies the laws of nature and the rules of science. FEMA Director Roberta Josephine Riesman is given an assignment that requires her to spy on an old friend. Riesman soon discovers that the very core of human existence is about to be challenged with the knowledge of an up to now hidden planet on the far side of the sun. And the biggest problem is that Earth is not prepared for that problem. Reluctantly, she decides take on the challenge to make a difference…if there is time.

Interesting. One word that really describes this book. I’ve always been a fan of good science fiction and this story is just that, good science fiction and more. I really enjoyed the characters, settings and overall plot. I must have missed something, though, because I never did really understand why the Terrans wanted to stay hidden from Earth. Nevertheless, the story moved along at a good pace that kept my attention. The ending was a little abrupt, but left the story open for a sequel or maybe more. Well done.

Suzanne Cowles

Intelligent Design: Revelations by J.M. Erikson is an engaging science fiction novella depicting worlds on various planets in our solar system. The fictional story begins with Master Architect Janus communicating with a Keeper computer. The Keepers protect planets and act as portals to other locations. Over time, the female artificial intelligence develops feelings and emotions as if she is evolving. In the meantime, the existence of Venus, Mars and Earth hangs in the balance. The Terrans are Neanderthal hominids with Venusian DNA. Terra is cloaked from Earth’s view. There is a father-daughter science duo working with math and statistics to bend light. Dr. Perez goes missing while NASA searches for clues. His daughter is pursued as she tries to piece together the mysterious puzzle. Mixed in the story are failing holographic emitters, the Martian invasion, the destruction of the dinosaurs on Earth, giant attacking rats, human tracking devices, Lucifer software, rogue federal agents, out-of-control government agencies, impending cataclysmic events, an all-female Delta Force, a bio-defense mechanism tablet, spectrograph science and gravity.

J.M. Erikson in Intelligent Design: Revelations writes in third person and uses a timeline spanning 63 million years as chapter breaks. On top of the who-done-it mystery and science themes, the real story seems to be about the Originators and whether there is a God, as well as the realization that man on Earth has evolved without the interference or guidance of a Keeper. Overall, the story is an enjoyable read with many exciting twists and turns akin to techno-drama science fiction.

Faridah Nassozi

Over 60 million years ago, planets were destroyed and with them the life that existed there. The people on earth once believed that theirs was the only planet that had life on it, but recent events have made scientists question if this is true. These scientists are also faced with the possibility of the existence of another planet that has never been discovered by man. However, all efforts to discover the truth about this new planet are futile. Any scientist who seems to be making progress disappears and data containing years of research is mysteriously deleted off computers. The latest scientist to disappear is doctoral student Andrea Perez who was under witness protection at the time of her disappearance. Three questions remain to be answered: is there really another planet that has managed to stay hidden from man all these years? Could there still be life left on the abandoned planets? And who is foiling the scientists' efforts to discover the truth?

Intelligent Design: Revelations by J. M. Erickson is an interesting science fiction novel that goes back and forth across millions of years and cuts across different planets and different timelines to bring you a story with a unique and fascinating plot that will catch the mind of any science fiction fan. J. M. Erickson wrote a book with an interesting background and very captivating current events. The book combines intriguing past and current scientific events and theories, conspiracy, high-tech gadgets and a touch of humor, with a cast of unique characters to give you a gratifying reading experience. It is an interesting read and fans of science fiction will love it.

Suzanne Owen

Intelligent Design: Revelations is a wonderfully absorbing science fiction novella presenting existential questions that occupy the reader’s mind long after the book has been put down. It centers on the premise that not only are we not alone in the universe, we have intelligent-life neighbors hardly further away than our own sun, on a planet intentionally hiding from our view through the use of its own cloaking system. This planet, Terra, is not populated with aliens, but a hominid species closely related to humans and Terra and Earth share a cultural history as well. The cloaking system used to conceal it from Earth is failing, however, and it is inevitable that Terra will be discovered by Earth, whose own planetary stability and climate are threatened.

The story is told in direct, clear language which describes rich, layered details and abundant symbolism. Contrasting elements play a huge role as well, such as the Terran civilization that uses technology surpassing what is available on earth, yet which also has features of ancient human societies, such as ceremonial dances, combat with edged weapons, and use of the Latin language. The many contrasts and contradictions underscore the theme of unpredictable change, prompting us to ask if there is a universal being ultimately in charge of our fate, or is it we ourselves, or some combination?

The main human figures - the scientist Andrea Perez, her father Anthony Perez, psychologist and military officer Roberta Joanne Riesman, her deceased lover and mentor Dr. Hiaki Nakamura - quickly reveal their personal characters through their strengths and weaknesses, along with all of the unknowns they struggle to understand as all of human and planetary history are suddenly rejuggled. As with characters in Erickson’s other works, there are no “good guys” and “bad guys” here, just individuals who, if they are lucky, gain insight into themselves. The dialogue is well-crafted and meaningful and the characters fully reveal their humanity as they interact with one another and react to events that are life-changing and beyond control.

What is unique about this novella is that is it not merely the story of human and Terran characters who are forced to continually adapt to ever-changing circumstances that lead them to question nearly all of their basic assumptions, but it is also a rich philosophical tale exploring issues and questions of who or what is in control of the universe and the fates of those in it and how alone and unique in the universe we are. It also forces us to ask ourselves what exactly constitutes a superior species and civilization, how crucial are qualities such as curiosity, humility, and adaptability and finally, what it means to accept truths that are unlike anything known before.

AIA Reviewer One

This is a well written Sci-Fi novella, set in the recent past and the future on both Earth and other planets in the solar system. Humans were not the first ones here, but were engineered by a group of beings known as Terrans. The Terrans have been successfully hiding their own planet from view of the earthlings using sophisticated technology, which has now begun to fail. The humans have noticed, and the FBI becomes involved in the search for answers.

Intelligent Design gives the reader both current and past scientific theories and events, and brings them together in an enticing soup of conspiracy, humour, high-tech gadgets, and existential questions.

As well as being an enjoyable and interesting traditional Sci-Fi read, this book has also been edited and proofed to a high standard. I wholeheartedly recommend this novel to dyed-in-the-wool Sci-Fi enthusiasts. I rate this book at Four out of Five stars.

Brent J. Meske

With earth on the brink of several mass extinction events, we earthlings need help. Luckily for us, there's a planet on the far side of the sun, on a nearly identical orbit, and that planet is not uninhabited.

Welcome to the solar system in Intelligent Design, where all four planets in the habitable zone were once upon a time inhabited by beings the likes of which we can hardly fathom, guided and assisted by computers so advanced they would probably give Bill Gates an aneurysm. Welcome to the solar system... sixty-five million years ago.

Twin planets are on a course to destroy each other, and the repercussions are impossible to compute. Who can tell which planets will survive the bombardment by rock and debris, and which will be utterly annihilated?

Now fast forward to today, to a world looking much like today. Except, just across a short gulf of space, Terra exists, and the Terrans are virtually unknown to us here on earth.

This book explores several interesting philosophical and sci-fi themes in its short, thrilling race to save the planet. Several scientists are on the brink of discovering Terra, a revelation which could shatter earth as we know it philosophically. Several interested parties have nearly grasped the truth.

I especially enjoyed the worlds built throughout the solar system, the culture of the Architects and the Terrans, the depth of thought put into the generation of an additional planet and its people. Even the take on the term 'intelligent design' was an intriguing and well thought out one.

I'd recommend this book for any sci-fi reader. It's a quick read with a few interesting twists and cool ideas. Thank you for the read, Mr. Erickson.

John E. Roper - US Review

"The dazed and bleeding rat backed away from Perez and turned to the downed girl. Without hesitation, Perez stepped between the predator and its prey."
Theories over the origin of mankind, the disappearance of the Neanderthals, and whether life could possibly exist in other parts of our solar system have bounced around within the scientific community for decades and have frequently butted heads with the beliefs of various religious communities. Combining these lines of thought and adding his own twist to them, the author has constructed a science fiction thriller that is both entertaining and imaginative.

The novella begins sixty-three million years ago with Master Architect Janus staring out over an orderly but nearly desolate Martian city that has been evacuated in response to the imminent threat of two planets set to collide further out in the solar system. The reader learns that in preparation for the long-anticipated disaster the Martians have been transferring most of their indigenous species to other planets that they have been terraforming such as Venus, Earth, and a hidden planet on the opposite side of the sun from Earth called Terra. The storyline then fast-forwards to 2008 in a time where the U.S. Government is trying to solve the conundrum of disappearing scientists and data that is beginning to hint at a planet-sized but invisible object behind the sun. From there the narrative switches back and forth between Terra and Earth as a group of Earth's scientists and Terran covert units attempt to keep the hidden planet's discovery from Earth's governments and rogue organizations while preparing for the eventual unveiling of its existence.

Well-written and suspenseful, Erickson's story blends scientific theory with fast-paced action in an adventure that should have its fans practically sitting up and begging for a sequel.

Sam Ryan

This is now the fourth book I’ve read from J.M. Erickson, and at the risk of sounding patronizing I think his writing just continues to get better and better. Perhaps it was due to the shorter length of his particular work (it’s a novella, as opposed to a full length novel) that everything just felt tighter and more focused… to an extent. I admit there were a few places that caused me some minor confusions (like when there are 2 Perez characters each being referred to as “Perez”) and the time jumps I sometimes lost track if I’d set it down for a bit. I was confused that the description read that it was 6 million years ago, but then in the book is says 63 million… anyways, small details. But overall I really liked the premise and the characters, human and non. I’d like to see this expanded into a more fleshed out series if that’s the direction the author decides to take.

Karen Matthew

I’m wavering on this one, as the premise and execution are terrific, and I can’t remember reading a book that has this original take, especially in a genre where it seems like everything has been done to death. Overall the plot, the characters, the voice, and dialogues were done quite well. But it did take me some time to get really grounded in the story line, and at times it seemed almost too rushed, but then would focus on some events (or conversations) that didn’t seem as important. I think this book and the subject matter has such huge potential to take it really deep and expand even more… a science fiction book that combines elements of religion and spiritualty and technology would have endless possibilities in my mind. But I liked that many interesting questions/ideas were brought up and given an almost philosophical angle that caused us to think outside the box some. I would have liked to see more character development, personally, but that’s just me maybe – I like more “personality” to them, but in a way the characters aren’t really the focal point of this story. Would recommend for fans or literary sci/fi, action-adventure, metaphysical, etc… suitable for older teens and adults. And I would also recommend this author’s “Birds of Flight” series as well. (4.5)

Jenna Brewster

Intelligent, complex, riveting, and with surprising twists, “Intelligent Design: Revelations” was an unexpected treat for me. I’m not a big sci/fi fan at all… in fact I confess I only chose this book to read because I vowed to try new genres this summer. And I may just be a new fan! Happy that this author has other books, and I’ll be checking them out as well. I was pulled into the story right away and liked the new “take” on our history/reality and the idea of a planet being basically hidden in plain sight is really cool. The technology and advancements were believable and yet almost feel ahead of its time. But what I liked the best was that I was never bored… I read it straight through and felt like I could have read more. I couldn’t tell by the last chapter if this series was done or not… almost seemed like it could go either way. But regardless, this is a very engaging and intelligently designed (pardon the pun) novella that can appeal to Science Fictions readers and Non-readers alike.

Stacy Decker

Having read three other books by this author earlier this summer (The Birds Of Flight Series) and really enjoying them, I was very eager to read Mr. Erickson’s latest novella, “Intelligent Design: Revelations”. And while the subject matter and even the genre is quite different, (the Birds of Flight series were more political thrillers; this is a Sci/Fi adventure) I enjoyed it just as much! This was a great, fast-paced plot driven novella that combined a lot of different elements to make it be much more than just a “stock” sci/fi book. There is a lot of creativity here, and interesting subplots that all tie together towards the end to put things in a different “light” so to speak. I liked that it wasn’t cliché or predictable, and I easily devoured it in the span of less than an evening. If I have one complaint it’s that I wish it was longer! A great read for any sci/fi action lover.

Self-Publishing Reviews

Mars – A Noah’s Ark of a civilization headed by Master Architect Janus, is a highly civilized race, making a last-ditch attempt to save Earth’s many species from extinction – more than sixty million years ago, as dinosaurs inhabit the Pale Blue Dot mankind now calls home. The Master Architects, a race something like mythological gods, are guardians of the planets known to exist in the Solar System, experimenting with terraforming the massive orbs that float around them. But when two planets collide and cause a disaster on an unimaginable scale, all is nearly lost.
Millions of years later, Andrea Perez, a student working on experiments for her doctoral paper, is faced by Federal agents with national security concerns – but what could her tests with holographic prisms have done to interfere with anything so serious? And then there’s the issue of research data that seems to be able to self-destruct…
This is a very enjoyable and more lightweight style science fiction adventure novella with an interesting backdrop – not many stories of this kind start in the deep past. Added to this, the magnitude of colliding planets and the poetry of unrequited love, old gods and synchronicity is played out well. Erickson uses ancient metaphors in the role of narrator to give the tale a layered appeal.
There are echoes of Cloud Atlas’ grand ideas, as well as a definite Dr Who feel to the piece, with Master Architects similar to the Timelords of the BBC show. It is a very “meta” setup, where Nature’s very structure and history’s core have been altered to suit the tale, but Erickson writes as if the world he describes could be a parallel one, or one the reader has not yet considered. Sometimes the ideas don’t quite hang together even within the universe Erickson has crafted, but for the most part it’s a fun episode in escapism across times and realities.
Given the astronomical immensity of Erickson’s imagination, there would have been room for this novella to spread into a more detailed, worked book that would probably enhance the depth of story possible here. Sometimes the jumps across huge plot points, summed up in a few sentences, would have been better explained in a few pages.
Maybe the point is that Intelligent Design remains simple to appeal to an audience that enjoys a reliably thrilling journey into a classic kind of science fiction. While others try to fiddle with subgenres by adding various parts, it is to Erickson’s credit that he fulfills the absolute criteria for a proper science fiction novel: i.e. science made into fiction – and that should be very enjoyable to sci-fi purists seeking out this exact kind of work. Cate Baum

Feathered Quill Book Revi

The existence of life on other planets has consistently been a question that no one has a definite answer to, but that has not stopped many people from dedicating their lives to researching the unknown. In Intelligent Design: Revelations, we meet one such person, a doctoral student by the name of Andrea Perez. Andrea has dedicated years to the study of light and how it can hide things from our line of sight. Her recent study has indicated that light has somehow been hiding the existence of an unknown planet behind the sun. This means, of course, that this ‘new’ planet has been obscured from Earth’s view for millions of years. However, when anyone gets close to an answer about this obscured planet their research suddenly is lost and the scientist ends up missing.
​As Andrea’s research closes in on this planet, her life is suddenly turned upside down. She is apprehended by the FBI and told that her life is in danger. Apparently there are some people in the U.S. Government who do not want the research Andrea is doing to go public. If getting rid of Andrea is the only way to get that accomplished, that is what would be done. Now, Andrea has a choice to make and that choice could take her on a journey she could never have imagined.
Meanwhile, in the midst of losing one of her closest colleagues, Roberta Joanne Riesman is feeling misplaced. Her colleague, Hiaki Nakamura, was a brilliant scientist and together they were conducting amazing research. Now he was gone, along with all of his research and there appears to be no hope of recovering it (or him!). As Riesman tries to make it through the funeral luncheon she notices some odd people lurking around who just seem out of place but she cannot understand why. Later, she is apprehended by agents of the U.S. Government who tell her she will need to spy on a friend by the name of Anthony Perez(who just happens to be Andrea's father). Riesman is told that Anthony might be a lead to an enemy of the country. Confused on what is the truth and what is not, Riesman is given no choice on the matter. She will soon come face to face with the actual truth and have to make a choice on what she wants to do with the rest of her life.
​This book did not hold back one bit in creating a fast-paced science fiction story line that I enjoyed imagining as I read, as thinking about the unknown is always interesting. Adding the element of mystery and conspiracy via the plot of the U.S. Government trying to cover up the research of an unknown planet added an extra element of suspense and excitement that made for a good read. However, there were a few times that I had trouble keeping up with where the story was as this book was told from many perspectives and from many different times. The chapters would switch from not only different characters but also jumped back and forth from past to present and even to the future, which, at times, made it difficult to follow.
​Overall, however, this is a very enjoyable read. Quill says: A great read for the true science-fiction lover. Kristi Benedict