Mendel's Ladder

The Collected Histories of Neoevolution Earth Vol. 1

Fiction - Science Fiction
258 Pages
Reviewed on 04/15/2024
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

E. S. Fein is the author of the Neoevolution Earth Series, two standalone novels (A Dream of Waking Life and Points of Origin), and two short story collections (Ascendescenscion and The Process is Love). More than anything, he enjoys writing strange stories about strange characters in strange situations. Some people refer to him as a lucid dreaming expert. Others know him as a rapper. But E. S. Fein just thinks of himself as a dude who likes to think about what it means to be a dude thinking about being a dude. When he isn't hanging out with his partner and son, you can usually find him reading, playing DnD and video games with his friends, going for walks while writing stories in his head before putting them on paper, or practicing yoga. Check out some free short stories on his site,

    Book Review

Reviewed by Paul Zietsman for Readers' Favorite

Mendel's Ladder: The Collected Histories of Neoevolution Earth Vol. 1 by E.S. Fein is a science-fiction fantasy thriller set in a dystopian future. The Huntress, Volya, finds her deadly mate, the Hunter, only to discover that he has fallen for a human female and is no longer the raging killer of humans that he first was. At the same time, Shira and Myriam, two ruthless human warriors, are shepherding two young humanoid girls, known as the virus and the cure, on a year's journey across the treacherous earth. On Astrea, the space station, where only a select few have been taken to survive the earth's devastation, Samuel learns of a planned revolution. He implores his lifelong friend Damian to put an end to the madness of a revolution but to no avail. The stories converge, and unlikely alliances are formed to ensure their survival. 

Mendel's Ladder is a very character-driven story. What makes it special is that the majority of characters, from Nomads to Biofreaks to Hunters and Huntresses, are imbued with strong human traits, which are evident in their actions as well as their dialogue. The dialogue is extremely authentic and includes characters using profanities, much to my delight, in circumstances that would usually cause one to swear. The balance between action and dialogue is brilliant, and I especially liked how there is a lot of conversation during action scenes, often taking the form of characters' inner dialogue. E.S. Fein whisks the reader away on a remarkable journey of enthralling adventure, mystery, and gripping suspense.

Saifunnissa Hassam

E. S. Fein’s Mendel's Ladder is a gritty, exciting, and complex futuristic sci-fi and fantasy novel, Book 1 of the epic series The Collected Histories of Neoevolution Earth. Interwoven into the novel are journal entries from Denis Mendel, written ca. 2041. Neoevolution is a new step-wise evolution of humanity, replacing Old Earth’s natural selection process. On the neoevolutionary ladder, every step is a new state that replaces the previous state. The goal is to eliminate the violence and power struggles of Old Earth and to create humans who can live in equanimity, love, harmony, and peace. The narrative is full of riveting and unique characters, whether human or humanoid or Nomads, hybrids of humans, plants, and fungi. A vast underground Hybrid root and mycelial network connects and transfers information to and from all the minds on Earth. The multiple storylines are set on Old Earth and Astrea, a space city in orbit around Earth.

Compelling and wildly imaginative from start to finish, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Mendel's Ladder. I was particularly struck by the outstanding character development as each unique character vividly showed a particular aspect of life after the catastrophic devastation of Old Earth. I liked the storyline of the two courageous female warriors, Shira and Myriam, and their lives in the Wintersvilla Matriarchy. Shira’s twin girls, Ariana and Aureliia, are often at odds with each other, and I liked how the plot keeps them together throughout their tumultuous and dangerous trek on Earth. I liked Rooli, the powerful human-tree Hybrid, who protects the twins and fights with Shira and Myriam in their battles. I was riveted by the storyline of the Huntress Volya and her Hunter, Thompson. Volya is programmed to hunt down all humans and the Hunter is her weapon. I loved the twists and turns as Thompson tried to resist Volya’s control over him. I think interweaving details of the fate of the last humans on Earth added depth to the entire novel. Samuel is a major character living in Astrea, and I liked how he realizes that Astrea conceals mysteries known perhaps only to the founders of the City in the Sky. E. S. Fein’s Mendel's Ladder is a terrific read with excellent writing, several outstanding characters, dark humor, and suspenseful storylines.

Essien Asian

Earth has become a post-apocalyptic wasteland, with hybrid plants replacing humans as we know them and feeding on the altered wildlife that survived the genocide. Samuel Kaminski is among the fortunate few selected to live in Astrea, a purported human paradise. Some people, like Myriam and Shira, are less lucky. These female warriors traverse a dangerous barren wasteland, seeking a new home for themselves and their young children. These individuals have little choice but to work towards creating a better future for themselves. They are unaware that a dangerous entity from their past has returned. This hunter's sole objective is to exterminate the last remaining humans on Earth. As disparate as their situations are, each must decide how best to survive the impending storm in E.S. Fein’s Mendel’s Ladder.

The Collected Histories Of Neoevolution Earth's first volume features some fantastic world-building by author E.S. Fein. Tales of a radioactively devastated Earth inhabited by bizarre-looking plant-human hybrids that feed on horrifyingly altered animal life will pique the curiosity of science fiction genre readers. Fein's use of traditional storytelling mixed with journal-style notes at the end of each chapter not only brings the reader up to date on events that occurred on the planet before the start of this adventure but also heightens the suspense, making the character development exceptional. The characters' conversation is engaging and full of well-placed hints about what is to come, but Fein's incredibly detailed battle scenes are what catch my attention. Just like when Shira and Myriam take on Hunter 4430, he describes each sword cut and slash with a fluidity that reads like poetry. Mendel's Ladder uses unique storytelling to entice readers into this strange world with its intricate factions and even more captivating plot. I am eager to see its follow-up.