Fiction - Science Fiction
714 Pages
Reviewed on 05/01/2017
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Arya Fomonyuy for Readers' Favorite

Once-Other by Lawrence M. Nysschens is a compelling blend of fantasy and sci-fi with a lot of symbolism, a story that vividly depicts the author’s creativity and ingenuity, from the quirky names of places and characters, to the unique voice, to the plot and setting. Set against the backdrop of a barren desert, the story features Once-Other, a citizen of Here-Born and a soldier, a man who is relentlessly tortured in many ways by his ex-wife. Besides the physical torments he must endure, he suffers the loss of the one thing he loves the most. He must look deeper inside himself to find the skills required to free himself and his people, but he must first overcome his fear.

I loved the concept behind this story, the symbolism, the powerful themes that come across neatly through the writing — freedom, love, personal growth, the power of the mind and romance. The writing is excellent and the author composes his sentences in a way that forces the reader to keep on reading. The pacing felt slow at the beginning, but increased fairly quickly. Once-Other is a multifaceted character that many readers can connect with. The conflict is built around his relationship with his ex-wife, which could be read in a very symbolic light. Lawrence M. Nysschens paints an interesting setting with great descriptive prose. For anyone who has been through a desert, this book comes with the many lessons that it communicates, and one of the things I loved about the desert in this book is that it isn’t a place of death, but of growth, of self-discovery. This is a story with relevant lessons and a lot of entertainment for readers.

Sefina Hawke

Once-Other by Lawrence M. Nysschens is a paranormal fantasy/science fiction novel filled with romance, adventure, and humor. This is a book that would appeal most to a mixed audience of young adults and adults who enjoy slower paced science fiction novels that have an elaborate background. Once-Other resides on a planet known as Here-Born and is a Here-Born campaigner during the second war for independence. Once-Other faces daily danger as a Here-Born campaigner from the Earth-Born, who seek to kill or capture those who act against them. The Earth-Born began the war when they sought to invade Here-Born and ignored all of the warnings issued to them. Now with war looming on the horizon, does Once-Other have what it takes to rise above his losses and sacrifices to be the leader and hero his people need him to be?

Once-Other by Lawrence M. Nysschens was a very intriguing book that reeled me in chapter by chapter. The start may have been slow, but Nysschens caused me to become emotionally invested in Once-Other; I really sympathized with his hurt and confusion when he discovered Jiplee and could not figure out why she did not call out for help using their ability to communicate from mind to mind. I found the difference in cultures in the two worlds to be interesting in how one values the individual and their freedom while the other no longer does. While the book was a fictional story, I enjoyed the hidden elements of politics and morality that were woven into the story. Overall, I enjoyed the unique nature of the book and I hope that Nysschens decides to write a follow-up.

Rabia Tanveer

Once-Other by Lawrence M. Nysschens is a very interesting and different science fiction story from the ones you might have read before. It is definitely far more creative than the usual science fiction fare and I have to say, the Once-Other actually feels very much on the same level as Star Wars and Star Trek. There is something about the way Lawrence M. Nysschens writes that just clicks with you and you want to keep on reading. Even though science fiction is really not my cup of tea, I was riveted by the characters and the background.

The story follows Once-Other, a humanoid very much like humans, but very different. He lives on Here-Born and he has issues just like any regular person would. He lives in a rocky, windy and heat-filled world where just the natural conditions can kill you if you are not careful. He is a soldier and he has a battle to fight. He needs to find that courage within and that ability to fight the unwanted. But his life is complicated and things are not getting better. His ex-wife is making things worse and stopping him from seeing his son. If Once-Other does not get his act together, his people will be enslaved and may even be completely killed off. But is there really something he can do?

What else can I say about Once-Other, the novel and the character? I loved Once-Other, the character. He was unafraid when it was needed and he was a little nervous just as any human would be. I loved the fact that he was not scared of taking a chance and he was scared of risking it all. He is how a true hero should be; a daring character who shows clear signs of being human.

Christian Sia

A novel with powerful spiritual undertones, Once-Other by Lawrence M. Nysschens presents man’s pain in loss, his battles, both spiritual and physical, and his journey to conquering fear and embracing himself. Set in the symbolic regions of the desert — and I couldn’t help reflecting on the deserts of our souls as I read on — the reader is introduced to Once-Other, a man whose life seems to be in disarray because of his ex-wife’s control over their son. Besides his personal struggles, he is engaged in a peculiar war to achieve freedom for his people in the Here-Born. The story unveils dread truths about a spiritual journey of the warrior towards self-realization and growth. Once-Other’s battle, his greatest battle, is with himself, the battle to unlock his full potential by conquering his inner demons and fears.

Lawrence M. Nysschens’ book is very symbolic in its style, and even the names of characters and places are also symbolic. The author writes well, and he masterfully incorporates the themes of love, self-conquest, life in the desert, and politics seamlessly into the story. The story is well-paced and the writing features beautiful descriptions, great action, and an engaging plot line. I love stories that are both entertaining and educative, and this one has successfully showcased the theme of inner freedom in a very unique way. The characters are well-imagined and developed, and even though their names sound very strange to the ears, they are believable. This is the kind of writing for readers who love books that are insightful, entertaining and provoke light reflection on the part of the reader. A great joy to read.

Ruffina Oserio

Once-Other by Lawrence M. Nysschens is an epic story that is told in fascinating, lyrical language, absorbing and powerful to the ears. At times it will read like the myth of creation, but what creation? The story is taking place in a desert called the Here-Born, a planet that has been affected by cosmic changes that have rocked the universe. The reader is introduced to a compelling character known as Once-Other, because he once had a different name and adopted this one after he replaced his “arms and head with pre-owned body parts.” Once-Other is a warrior, fighting to protect the lives of his people and to ensure they are free from slavery, but he is a man with his own personal issues, including his unstable and troublesome relationship with his ex-wife who has their son. This book is his odyssey to embracing his potential and fulfilling his mission.

The setting is fascinating and it is in a far-away distant future, a planet that is desert, described as Here-Born. There is a lot to enjoy in this book, and I must say that I was absorbed by the strong and lyrical writing style. It read like music. There are the characters that are compelling, strangely familiar, and memorable. This is the kind of book you read and wake up feeling as though you’d traveled to another world. There are many insights in this story and a whole philosophy on the secrets of success and personal growth. The story is fast-paced and laced with powerful images. The plot, the exquisite writing, the awesome characters, and the mythical undertones of the story are elements that make it stand out as a work of great depth and success.