Karen Duvall,
Project Resurrection
(Speculation Press, 2000)

The Sci-Fi Channel needs to option Project Resurrection. This book captures the mood of a classic B-movie, even down to the cheesy special effects.

Set in Alaska in 2013, Project Resurrection centers on LaNaya Seville, an empathic physical therapist of mysterious Inuit descent with budding psychic abilities. LaNaya works for Project Resurrection, an operation in which a group of scientists are attempting to reanimate cryogenically-frozen corpses. Being sensitive to the astral plane, LaNaya senses that this project could break down the barriers between the physical and astral worlds.

Already, we've got reanimated corpses, a futuristic setting, an Inuit psychic healer with a dark secret, and astral realms. Believe it or not, the premise is sound. Duvall tells a catching story and creates a central character that is genuinely interesting. Unfortunately, LaNaya doesn't carry the book entirely on her shoulders. The supporting characters aren't fleshed out at all -- they barely fit a two-dimensional mold. There's Benny, the nice guy/buddy who wants to believe; Terrence Labriola, the idealistic-but-oh-so-wrong doctor in charge; and his bad-seed son, Kenneth Labriola. There are other characters that play major roles in this story, but revealing their lack of depth would spoil their roles.

OK, so we've got one reeeeeally good character surrounded by typical supporting roles. We've also got the right setting. Now there's only two things we need for a perfect B-movie: bad dialogue and cheesy special effects. Both are found aplenty. If Duvall had told the story completely stream-of-consciousness from LaNaya's point of view, then all would have been well. The dialogue from the supporting characters falls as flat as their development. As for the special effects, the astral plane is described in detail too many times. Once would have sufficed, but instead the reader is overloaded with description after description of color and texture that only create a sense of redundancy.

This book has its flaws but succeeds where it should. If taken in the context of a B-movie, Project Resurrection makes for an entertaining read.

[ by C. Nathan Coyle ]
Rambles: 29 June 2002

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