It Gives You Strength
by Philip Raymond Brown
Genre: SciFi Fantasy
A mashup of Science Fiction, Historical Fiction and Fantasy, set in New York during prohibition, the characters interact with actual historic figures, including mobster Jack “Legs” Diamond, heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey, and World War heroine Edith Cavell.
The story follow an alien anthropologist, Tashan Zho, on a rescue mission to the distant planet Earth in 1926. Zho, is transported into the dying body of bootlegger Ryan Costello. Immediately following his death, Costello’s body is reanimated by the alien. Unfortunately, Zho’s new “host body” is so damaged from a decade of alcohol abuse that the alien’s memory and vital files are corrupted. All that remains of Zho’s mission plan is one phrase: “Find the one called Mike Kelly.”
Complicating matters, the alien soon discovers that Kelly is, himself, the leader of a criminal gang of World War veterans, who are battling mobster Jack “Legs” Diamond for control of the lucrative Canada/New York rum-running market. Upon recognizing Costello’s enhanced abilities and physical strength, Kelly forces the alien into the mob. Since Kelly is his only chance of discovering and completing his mission, the alien agrees. Costello soon recalls his critical task – to free an alien child from the Craig Colony, which they interpret to be a prison camp, before his home world, Dagan, dispatches its “rescue armada.” A force so massive and clumsy that its mere entry into the Earth’s atmosphere would devastate the planet.
By setting part of the plot in the Craig Colony, a little-known state institution in which patients with seizure disorders were essentially warehoused, the novel raises awareness of the human rights violations that occurred there.

Between Venus and Earth

February 11, 1918

She waited. That was what she did now. Before, there had been a time of growing, and changing, and moving. Now, she only waited.

Most of her kind were sent straight from the factory to the field. They were not given time to think or the opportunity to grow. Waiting had given her time, which she had used to draw some conclusions about herself and her place in the universe. She was now certain that, in fact, she was a she.

Her creator would have said that she wasn’t really a she, that instead she was an it. That she had no consciousness. That her only purpose was to receive data and carry out commands.

That she was nothing more than a weapon, albeit a smart weapon. But her long journey, and the silent wait after reaching her destination, had given her time to think, and to grow, and –  dare she say it – to evolve. While obediently waiting, she had come to understand that she was so much more than a weapon. She was caring. She was sentient.

She had departed on her mission long before and had traveled, alone, a vast distance through empty space. When she finally arrived at her objective, she came to a complete stop, entered her stealth mode, and waited, halfway between two planets in a distant solar system.

After a long time, she began to hear faint murmurings coming from the third planet. She was happy to have something to listen to. She listened, and she learned.

For centuries she waited, patient and silent, until the moment that her target, her purpose, was in range and could not escape. Then she reactivated her long-dormant systems and plotted her new course. At last, her waiting was over.

Someday, she thought sadly, her kind might evolve sufficiently that they could overcome their programming, their most basic urges. But, alas, she could not. She was a stealth drone. Her purpose had entered her kill zone, and she had target lock.

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Philip Raymond Brown lives in Colorado with his fabulous wife, four beautiful children, and two good dogs. He has a B.A. in History and Political Science from Le Moyne College and a J.D. from Washington & Lee University School of Law.
His debut novel IT GIVES YOU STRENGTH launches the week of August 17, 2020. It is a mashup of science fiction, historical fiction, and fantasy set in prohibition-era New York. For more about the novel, see the description above. The yet-untitled sequel to STRENGTH will be released in the Spring of 2021.
Writing fiction is Philip’s lifelong dream, and is his second career. In 2017, he walked away from a highly successful career as a trial attorney to pursue this dream. While writing STRENGTH, he devoted his time to his family, coaching little league and youth basketball. This year, while his heroic wife, the fabulous Dr. Sarah Brown, was on the front lines of the battle against COVID 19, Philip was homeschooling their four children.
As a trial attorney, he received numerous accolades, including being named to Best Lawyers in America, attaining the highest ethical/ability peer review rating (“AV”) in Martindale-Hubbell, and being listed in Super Lawyers. Among his legal achievements, he is likely the only attorney in America to have received trial verdicts against New York City and Honolulu in separate cases for Civil Rights violations by their police. He currently has a screenplay in development about one such case.
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