Welcome back WormholeRiders,
Always your trusted source for science fiction news, we also delve into significant book reviews and stage plays about freedom on occasion. Today we will focus on one of our favorite authors, Gary Morgenstein who recently completed “A Black and White Cookie” featured live on Zoom as we await the reopening of Broadway in New York City as the pandemic fades into history.
Gary Morgenstein has just completed the second of three books in the “The Dark Depths” series, “A Fastball for Freedom” where, in a dystopian world, the United States stands defeated in the year 2098!
“A Fastball for Freedom” is an outstanding work of literary fiction that follows book one in the series, “A Mound Over Hell”. “A Fastball for Freedom” finds that our hero protagonist, Puppy Nedick, has escaped from America with his ex wife Annette Ramos after apparently murdering “Grandma” during his flight to escape oppression from his homeland in America.
As we recall from “A Mound Over Hell”, the setting is in the far future dystopian world of 2098. The world Puppy lives in is controlled by various factions of the Islamic faith.
As in our world of 2021, some of the Islamic groups are good, some are evil. In fact, religious laws strictly control every aspect of life in 2098 to ensure conformance with appropriate religious principles.
As the adventure continues, our hero, ex baseball pitcher Puppy Nedick and his ex-wife Annette are running for their lives. Puppy is observed seeking a new country of residence and asylum with ex wife Annette. Both have been branded by the United States as American traitors and murderers as depicted at the end of “A Mound Over Hell”. Puppy and Annette run straight into an Islamic Caliphate under the control of dubious and nefarious members of “The Family” .
Puppy and Annette, along with the very few friends they can trust, must now seek safety in the war torn districts of a major European city. Puppy will encounter a difficult matrix of reality in an uncertain future run by religious secret police, menacing law enforcement government robots, and ever present intelligent computerized holograms chasing him in “A Fastball For Freedom”.
To avoid being killed or imprisoned, Puppy must take desperate measures to save himself and his allies! Puppy, never one to quit in the faces of evil challenges, is determined to save our world, returning it to sanity by leveraging the only weapon he has confidence in; baseball!
A Fastball for Freedom Preview:
We rejoin Puppy and Annette in London, England. The year is 2098, twenty-five years after America has been defeated by Islam. The United States as a country is no longer a great Democratic Republic or even a world power for that matter. Islam has conquered much of the world with apparently only one other economic superpower, China, left standing.
In the nightmarish society of the future, existence is now run by religious zealots known as “The Family”, with loyal “Warriors” who apply Islamic justice to any who dare defy them, In this hideous future, almost everything is illegal, including social media so no more Facebook, Instagram or Twitter!
In a robot- and hologram run world of horror, with the forbidden game of baseball, Puppy’s only way to exact freedom, once the national pastime of the United States, it is now a foul act of treason!
Representing the world’s last hope, at least in Puppy’s mind, baseball will play a vital role in “A Fastball for Freedom” to regain freedom.
A passage from illustrates what Puppy must deal with. As Priest “Dempsey sighed. “You’re quite famous for killing Grandma.” He (Puppy) studied him shrewdly. “Remember that there are people in the Caliphate who revere you for just that.”
Puppy Nedick, at one time a famous baseball pitcher turned baseball historian returns amid an exciting array of characters, both good and evil as he runs from the United States government that lists him and his friends as treacherous traitors.
As we observe in our own decade, religion has been weaponized by “The Family” that has recently installed a new leader. Seeking only a restoration of freedom, Puppy will utilize every tool at his disposal tom accomplish his goal. As Puppy and his few true friends struggle to survive in a hate filled anti-Semitic world where the Jewish people are all but extinct in a Holocaust worse that World War II.
As forces gather on all sides, a pending, final global conflict looms to settle everything once and for all as Puppy finds himself a prisoner of the Caliphate in the ravaged city of London!
“A Mound Over Hell”, book one of “The Dark Depths series”, superbly set the stage for “A Fastball For Freedom”. As in “A Mound Over Hell”, what admire are the rich cast of characters that bring the story arc to life within our minds that makes “A Fastball For Freedom” a delightful book to read. In fact, in the opinion of this editor, “The Dark Depths” series would make an outstanding movie trilogy in league with “Lord of the Rings” brought to life on the screen only twenty years ago.
To dovetail the trilogy approach that is so popular with authors and film studios, think of “A Fastball For Freedom” as the second movie, Insurgent, in the wildly popular Divergent film series; “Divergent”, “Insurgent”, and “Allegient”. Professionally, I would like to see Gary extend “The Dark Depths” series, planned to be three books, to become more like the Harry Potter or The Expanse series with ten books or even more!
“A Fastball for Freedom” is a fabulous vehicle for this purpose. As our heroes seek to survive and perhaps heal a world overcome with anti-Semitism, hate, religious zealousness with a tragic lack of cohesion as a result, divisiveness and anarchy reign supreme, much like the world we face today that citizens of 2021 feel today, trapped in a hopeless situation of never ending poverty and slavery to an oppressive ruling class.
What has happened to freedom of choice and common sense? Is “A Fastball For Freedom” actually a warning to all of us as the pandemic with government instituted draconian methods, including abuse of social media to suppress freedom of speech to control the citizens the wave of the future? The answer is an unequivocal yes!
In “A Fastball For Freedom” Gary Morgenstein has accurately reflected the world of 2021 in an horrific vision of the future that is actually a reflection of the present. The riveting dialog (with a quotation from the book below) is as truthful as is it revealing about people locked down by today’s pandemic, all of whom are sick and tired of overbearing government, both Federal administrators and State level Governors.
“Where’s Annette?” (asks Puppy)
The priest (Dempsey) shrugged. “In the woman’s center, I assume.”
Puppy peered at a filthy cup of water with something half-alive swimming about. He decided thirst was better. “What’ll they do to her?”
“I don’t know.”
“Will they hurt her?”
Dempsey shrugged again. This time Puppy jabbed his forearm into the man’s throat.
“That’s not a fucking answer”!
And these are Puppy’s friends living in fear all the time!? A more revealing passage from “A Fastball For Freedom” provides insight into Puppy’s imprisonment by the Caliphate literally drips with the hatred of Christians by the Islamic masters of the future.
“The stream of blood on the bandage was now an ocean. You might be dying, Puppy. How about that. Coming to London was a great idea. He’d have to get a different travel agent.
A black-robed hand slid a tiny tray of foul smelling vegetables beneath the glass. Famished, Puppy scooped up the food with his bloodstained hands, shoveling it down. The guard laughed as Puppy puked it right back onto the floor.
“Clean.” The guard pointed at the vomit.
Puppy searched his pockets for a tissue.
Nodding with irritation at the impatient guard, Puppy desperately looked around the cell for something to use. They hadn’t even given him a pillow. Then what, the blanket? He slept poorly as is. The guard stormed in and, shoving his rifle butt against the back of Puppy’s skull, pressed his mouth onto the floor.
Puppy sensed the eyes of his fellow prisoners across the hall. If they’re paying good money to come out to Yankee Stadium, he couldn’t disappoint them. Puppy barked and yanked the guard’s ankle, flipping him onto his back. He scooped up the vomit and flung it into the Allah’s eyes.
A Holy Warrior clubbed Puppy unconscious.”
With exciting dialog created for both good and evil characters like Azhar Mustafa, Youssef, Colonel Ali Baba, Omar Mustafa, Abdul Mustafa, Zelda Jones, Beth Rivera, Pablo Diaz, and Clary Santiago and many others, “A Fastball For Freedom” creates a rich tapestry that quickly allows the reader to become invested in the journey as Puppy seeks to restore freedom!
All of the characters project realism that the reader can related to including the artificial intelligence holograms and robots used to enforce the edicts of the time. It is much like the government officials who allegedly work for us spewing propaganda daily on social media and television (non) news!
The Dark Depths series is successfully is continued in “A Fastball For Freedom” establishing a solid edifice for the third, yet to be named book in which hopefully will reveal the fate of the Islamic hating Chinese and share with all of us exactly what has happened to the Jewish people in the future. We rate the book as a Straight A and recommend it as a perfect addition to any book lover’s library!
About the Author:
Gary Morgenstein is the well known critically acclaimed author of The Dark Depths series (“A Mound Over Hell“, “A Fastball for Freedom“). The series covers a unique dystopian science fiction baseball saga. He has appeared on several podcasts and science fiction round tables at the popular WormholeRiders News Agency, Fan Boy Nation, and Fellowship of Fools web sites.
An accomplished playwright, his humorous new play about racial harmony, A Black and White Cookie, is slated for premiere in 2021. He is also the author of the stage dramas Saving Stan, A Tomato Can’t Grow in the Bronx, and the off-Broadway sci-fi rock musical The Anthem.
Gary’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Parade Magazine, The New York Post, Sports Illustrated, Fox News Radio, and NPR. Gary enjoys sports, yoga, and taking care of his beloved pug. Gary lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, playwright-director-theater critic Marcina Zaccaria.
Special thanks from Rockwater Reports goes to both Gary Morgenstein and BHC Press for providing a review copy to allow us to bring you our analysis of “A Fastball For Freedom” releasing next month on March 25, 2021.
This editor has known the author, Gary Morgenstein, for the past thirteen years when we had the privilege of working with him professionally during the halcyon years of the Stargate television franchise when he was a senior publicist with SYFY, now a division of NBC Universal.
Over the years we have enjoyed covering the growing body of work from this talented author that include his hit off Broadway stage plays culminating in “The Dark Depth” series and a new television series!
We suggest each reader of this review order a copy of “A Mound Over Hell” now so that you will be ready when “A Fastball of Freedom” releases on March 25, 2021 from BHC Press.
In closing for now, “A Fastball for Freedom” is the perfect follow-up to “A Mound Over Hell” that leads to a third book in The Dark Depths series. “A Fastball for Freedom” hits the shelves March 25, 2021 and is currently available for pre-order in hard cover from BHC Press and E-Book at all major booksellers online.
As we proceed to the future, Team WHR will return with more special guests in our Round Table Series including select science fiction book reviews and outstanding plays like A Black and White Cookie. Additionally, we will be migrating the entire WHR YouDecide interview series here during 2021! Please feel free to share this article with your friends, co-workers and or family and leave your comments! We look forward to you visiting our dedicated review and analysis web site here in the future!
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