Intelligent Design II


Fiction - Science Fiction
172 Pages
Reviewed on 08/16/2015
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 Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite

JM Erickson pens a thrilling science fiction novella in Intelligent Design II: Apocalypse. The action continues for the Sol System’s Architects. Everything is about to change drastically. There is no doubt that Jupiter will explode. The result will be a second sun. What will happen to the existing planets? The Martian, Architect Janus, with the help of his master computer, calculates and simulates the outcome. Mars and Venus will be bombarded with asteroids, and the new-found planet Terra will remain intact, but Earth will experience an extinction level event. As the senior species, Janus warns Terra and Earth of this unexpected event. Andrea Perez stays on Terra and leads an expedition drill team into Terra’s crust, discovering a new subterranean habitat. Andrea’s father, Anthony Perez, returns to Earth. After his return, Anthony joins forces with his close friend, Christine Reich. Together they warn the powers that be, and then prepare for the worst. As the time draws near, Architect Janus discerns that Jupiter’s ignition is no random act; could it be a prearranged plan of superior beings? Will answers be found in the great beyond, in the void of time and space? Or will these events create more questions. Only time will tell.

Intelligent Design II: Apocalypse is the sequel to JM Erickson’s Intelligent Design: Revelations. By including a list of characters, Erickson introduces, or reminds the reader, of the events and roles of the characters in the previous book. (This was a great help, as I had not read the first book.) As in any good science fiction book, the alien species have their own unique descriptions, abilities and culture, setting them apart from humans or “Earthies.” The prologue contains a mysterious narrative hook which draws the reader immediately into the story.

Intelligent Design II: Apocalypse takes you deep into the solar system, changing settings often, from the hidden voices in the dark, to the underground domains of Terra and Mars, to the floating cities of Venus. On Earth, the good guys battle not only time, but those who want to stake their claim to or stifle the knowledge of life on other planets. The impending cataclysmic event is the propellant behind the action; the story accelerates as “time” is running out. As a reader you anxiously await the climax, yet uncertainty remains as the story unravels towards its end. The prevalent theme is depicted in the quotes of Buddha at the beginning of each chapter: to live each day as your last day in harmony with one other. Erickson concludes this action-packed science fiction saga by planting philosophical ideas and truth-seeking questions; what is really out there, and who are the voices in the darkness?

Hilary Hawkes

In Intelligent Design II by JM Erickson, a planet called Terra that has always been hidden from us reveals itself. Terra inhabitants know through the “Originators” that Jupiter is about to self destruct and turn into another sun with catastrophic effects on Terra and Earth. Whilst they explore and discover an old underground world on their own planet, the Terrans also help Earth build an underground ark that will house and keep safe enough people to prevent the annihilation of the human race. Terra’s Andrea Perez and Earth’s Christine Reich seek advice from their planets’ Master computers in order to best prepare both populations. Meanwhile, on their planet Mars, the Master Architect Janus, his companions and his Master computer analyse this disastrous event. But as old worlds change or end, new possibilities emerge for other planets to experience new beginnings.

Intelligent Design II is Erickson’s sequel to his first sci fi book about Terra and the planets. I like the way the story switches from Terra to Earth throughout, and the relevant and thought provoking quotes from Buddha (and at the start from the Bible) give it an added depth. There are a lot of characters in this fairly short book and the list and descriptions of them at the start of the book is a helpful feature. The book is well-written with much to intrigue and grab enthusiastic fans of science fiction. The plot is well thought out and developed and the characters unique and very believable.

There is a wonderful, distinctively mysterious and futuristic atmosphere to the story which I enjoyed very much. Whether or not there is life on other planets, and whether there is and has always been an intelligence overseeing or designing the emergence of life are exciting and extraordinary concepts to ponder. Erickson’s imaginative and thrilling story taps into our fascination and thirst for wanting satisfying answers and is entertaining at the same time.

K.C. Finn

Intelligent Design II: Apocalypse is a thrilling science fiction novella by author J.M. Erickson. Picking up where book one, Intelligent Design: Revelations, left off, the people of the hidden planet Terra are in turmoil once again. Janus, the universal Master Architect, still abides on Mars, but now he’s foreseen an incredible and deadly explosion that threatens life across the whole system: Jupiter is ready to become a sun. Former FEMA agent Christine Reich now runs her own powerful assault team, but even she knows she can’t go it alone in the face of truly apocalyptic odds. Meanwhile super-smart Andrea Perez is making her own epic discoveries as a disaster of mythic proportions looks likely to unfold.

I have long been a fan of J.M. Erickson’s writing style, not least for the attention to detail he gives his central characters and the world which they inhabit. For a novella length story, Intelligent Design II: Apocalypse packs a thrilling punch in a convincing alien realm, where supernatural, mythical, biblical and historical references collide to create a savage and truly unpredictable universe. Amid this fantastical setting, the narrative reads as sharply as an SAS thriller with efficient, no-nonsense heroes and heroines who understand the full and terrifying impact of the decisions they make. The primarily female cast of Intelligent Design II was also an enjoyable deviation, as Erickson successfully subverts the usual conventions of both the sci-fi and action genres. Overall, a compelling and accomplished short read that packs an intergalactic punch.

Micaela Alpert

Intelligent Design II by JM Erickson is a great read for those who like science fiction. Andrea Perez, also known as Perez the Younger, was born on Earth, but now lives on Terra, a planet on the opposite side of the sun, and a planet which Earth cannot see. Living on Terra, she is part of the engineer-warrior caste system. Her job is to keep the planet's holographic emitters running, so Terra remains hidden from Earth. But a bigger problem is arising. Jupiter is igniting into a sun, and the Terrans are about to discover an experiment deep under the Terran crust. On Mars, Master Architect Janus and his Master Computer can't find an explanation for this weird event. Although Earth and Terra aren't far from disaster, there is new change for Venus and Mars. Throughout this story, watch as the apocalypse arrives, changing the universe and bringing alive the world of Hades.

I loved Intelligent Design II by JM Erickson. It was evident that he did a lot of research on astronomy and earth science, and did a great job writing about it. There aren't many mature scenes, although the wording can be complicated for young adults. I noticed that this book did use some big words in it, and I recommend it for adults who like to read science fiction stories. This book is also good for older teens who are interested in astronomy and earth science.

Anabella Johnson

Awesome. I almost feel like I read five books instead of one, so much happened! Once I started reading this book I didn’t want to put it down until I’d finished. Seemed never a good place just to stop for a while as the action continued to build and build. Some pretty far out there scenarios that come to life, but well-executed. Love the scenes with Perez and the fighter team the best – those girls are awesome, great energy and dialogue. I personally feel that there could have been a bit more depth to the characters, and some scenes seemed a bit too rushed, and not explained enough. There were so, so many characters and for a shorter book it seemed like overkill at times. Liked the ending, though, and didn’t expect some things to happen that did. Glad to see this author has a few other series out there, will be reading those as well. Recommend to fans of SciFi, action, adventure, space-opera, dystopian. - (4 stars) Anabella Johnson. Goodreads; Shelfari; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

Claire Middleton

Intelligent Design II is the first book I’ve read from this author, but I think he’ll be one to watch. I liked that he wasn’t afraid to take chances and push limits. The writing is very good—intelligent, suspenseful, descriptive and disturbingly honest. It is pretty evenly-paced, but for me it got really crazy good during the last half or so when it all started to blow up…No lack of explosive drama here! Try and be bored reading this… just try. I dare ya! But seriously, this was one roller coaster ride that I was not expecting...
Mr. Erickson uses great word economy and doesn’t bore us with too many unnecessary details, but the descriptions are totally on point. This s an author who fortunately totally understands the concept of ‘show, don’t tell!’ Fast, focused, and to the point, “Intelligent Design II” is a keeper, and I’m definitely checking out his other works soon! - (4 stars) Claire Middleton, Goodreads; Shelfari; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

Karen Matthews

J.M. Erickson has such an incredible way with words; his descriptions are vivid yet simple and not overdone; you see what the characters are seeing, you feel what they are feeling; you feel like you are there. I felt like I was experiencing what they were. “Intelligent Design II: Apocalypse” was very hard to put down, as I had to know how everything would turn out. Each time I did have to stop reading I was thinking about what I’d just read. After an admittedly slower start, the fast-paced tempo of the writing built at a steady pace, with more than one shocking twist along the way.
Erickson is a great storyteller and writer. His prose is effortless, yet strong and the same time. Conversations felt natural, with each character having a fully developed personality that made them feel distinct. Nothing I hate more than reading a book where every character ‘sounds’ the same.
It had been some time since I read this first book, and this one picks up shortly after the first ends (so read them in order) but Mr. Erickson does a great job of catching us up to speed in the very beginning. And I always like the quotes he does at the beginning of each chapter. Really sets the tone and is fitting. A great series, one I can’t recommend enough. - (5 stars) Karen Matthews, Goodreads; Shelfari; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

Stacy Decker

I really should know by now that even if I ever wonder if I’m going to “like” the book I’m reading by J.M. Erickson, I need to remember that by the time I finish, I will be blown away… as always! Time and time again this author amazes me with his fearless, inventive, and highly detailed & realized plotlines and elaborate world-building. And what’s even more impressive is the amount of complexity and multi-layered plots we get in a shorter space…. “Intelligent Design II: Apocalypse” isn’t some hefty Sci/Fi tome, but probably novella length (or abouts), and I finished it pretty quickly…. But there is a lot to absorb and at times I did feel a little lost. But even when I felt some things going over my head, it all eventually came together in the end… which felt a bit anticlimactic, actually but was overall satisfying. Needs to be read after the first one as it all ties together (this is not a standalone). - (4-5 stars) Stacy Decker, Goodreads; Shelfari; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

Sam Ryan

Like I’ve said in other reviews about other books I’ve read by J.M. Erickson (and there have been several!) is even if I’m not 100% sold on the plot, or some characters don’t totally do it for me, the way he writes is just so darn fluid and authentic… this delicate balance between beautiful literary prose and hardcore sci-fi techie narrative. It’s almost mesmerizing, and pulls us along like we are there inside the story as it all unfolds (or collapses, as it may be). Each chapter end makes you want to keep reading, and I have to commend Mr. Erickson on the way he writes such kick-butt female leads. Nice to see characters like Perez and Christine, and are some of the most dynamic, believable characters I’ve encountered.
Plot wise, this is not a book to be rushed through… in fact, I feel there is much to think about, and deeper messages about humanity, how we treat out planet, where we come from and why we are here… is this all part of Intelligent Design? Highly recommend for fans of intelligent science fiction/adventure with a literary/philosophical twist. - (5 stars) Sam Ryan– Goodreads; Shelfari; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

Jenna Brewster

I just finished Intelligent Design II: Apocalypse by J. M. Erickson, the follow up sequel to Intelligent Design: Revelations. While this is really not normally the type of book I’d gravitate to (I’m more into contemporary novels) and in the beginning, I admit that I really wasn’t sure if I’d really be into it, but once I was about 25% in I was totally hooked and didn’t want to stop until I’d reached the end. There are some riveting and amazing concepts in this book, and the writing is great. I would describe this as a sci-fi/thriller/drama, but there was also great dialogue (my favorite part of the book) and crazy plot twists, and solid character development. So you will definitely stay interested.
I liked how Mr. Erickson blends what is ‘real’ but gives it a whole new spin in the universe (literally) and crates his own rules and seems to have a great time doing it. But there are deeper questions and themes explored here if one chooses to look beyond just the obvious “space sci/fi story” and the theory behind “Intelligent Design” is complex and fascinating. A great pair of books for any hardline science fiction fan, but also has outside-genre appeal as well. (5 stars) - Jenna Brewster, Goodreads; Shelfari; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

Joe Kilgore

"Perhaps this is an act of the Originators, our creators, if it is, should we stop it?"
To many readers of science fiction, the genre’s primary appeal is an escape to the future—an escape to worlds similar enough to our own to be comforting, yet different enough to seem dangerous and exciting. If such an escape is your motivation, you are likely to enjoy Erickson’s new offering.
The author's soaring imagination and mastery of technical jargon are on full display in this tale of impending interplanetary destruction that would seem to be shattering, yet may not in fact be as catastrophic as one might first imagine. The plot involves Earth, Mars, the planet Terra, which for eons has been orbiting discretely on the other side of the sun, and Jupiter, which is threatening to create havoc with each of the aforementioned. Will the potential pinballing of asteroids and planets lead to the annihilation of species or rather their next evolution? That’s only one of the questions this interstellar story raises.
This second novel in Erickson’s Intelligent Design saga is inhabited by smart and adventurous humans; small, hairy, brave and noble Terrans; eminently wise and intelligent Martians; emotionally developing artificially intelligent computers; and unseen but not unheard originators of the universe itself. In fact it is the interplay between these diverse species that makes Erickson’s tale as charming as it is compelling. If your mind is open to both fictional science and fascinating religion, and you’re always hungry for a bite or two of slam-bang adventure, this book just might be what the cosmic doctor ordered. - US Review of Books

Self-Publishing Review

“Taking place in the years following the events of Intelligent Design: Revelations, the earth-like society of Terra - nestled, shrouded by technology, in our very solar system - prepares for disaster. As the people of Earth have only now come to realize, Jupiter is about to ignite into a star, destroying all life on its surrounding planets. As former MIT-turned-Terran Andrea Perez tries to hide Terra from Earth with her supreme knowledge of technology, Martian Master Architect Janus calculates the trajectory of disaster, and German Christine Reich prepares her all-female squad of Epsilon Team Six to save the people of Earth... or at least some of them. It all comes to a head in Intelligent Design II: Apocalypse by J.M. Erickson.

The actual fiction is prefaced with no less than three epigraphs, and this comes after a lengthy summary of the setting and characters for those not starting from the first story. As one of these people, as much as I appreciate the thought, I honestly had only a vague clue as to what the book would be about from the descriptions provided. Intelligent Design II is a dense story; the plot is retro sci-fi with a modern twist, as if it were recently re-written from a manuscript first penned in the era of the original Planet of the Apes. If you squint hard enough you'll see all sorts of influences at play, melted down and reforged into something... well, alien. It's a lean, brick-solid story that, just like its stalwart cast, doesn't mess around.

Maybe it's just that it's something a bit different, but as someone who can overlook the old-school shortcomings of this extremely eccentric story, I had a fairly good time with it. However, this is going to appeal to a very niche readership even within the already relatively niche sci-fi audience. Still, for that niche, this is a story that won't make time for you to catch up at any point, and that might just be what you're looking for as it barrels on through. For all the strange quirks at play, it's an enjoyable read. It's a bit plain, surprisingly devoid of action or drama at times, and the presentation definitely could have been improved in all areas from cover to text. It's a mildly campy space romp that sells itself hard and fast for the right reader.

Happily, this story seems to have been given a second life in the Intelligent Design: Revelations to Apocalypse edition that puts both Intelligent Design stories into one volume. Given Star Wars mania at the time of writing (December 2015) this book could do well if it rides the wave of intergalactic drama so well-loved right now." - 4 stars, Self-Publishing Review