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Intriguing Blend of Sci-Fi and Philosophy, January 23, 2014
By Tania Staley – See all my reviews
This review is from: PlanetB2: Human War Against Nature (Paperback)
Reviewed by Tania Staley for Penn Book Review

Prolific writer M.C. Raj blends science fiction, shamanism, and political drama in his latest book Planet B2. A new planet harboring life has been discovered by the American government. U.S. President Rustler is determined to be the first to lay claim to the uncharted territory of the planet and everything that realms within it. Knowing that revealing the discovery of Planet B2 would lead to worldwide race to be the first nation to reach the planet, Rustler keeps the find a tightly held national secret and begins the necessary plans to successfully send a exploration crew to the surface of the planet. Determined for this to be his crowning glory and not wanting to risk any setbacks from naysayers, he continues on in secret, spending billions of dollars of taxpayers money with no explanation. The intrigues don’t stop there, however, as the first ship to try to enter Planet B2’s atmosphere disappears with no explanation. Rustler refuses to give up and his determination to take over this planet in his name and that of America will lead him down a road of deceit and treachery. It is a quest that he refuses to let go even as he loses more spacecrafts and the lives of his scientists. Failure is not an option; he will own this planet, even if he must destroy it in order to keep anyone else from having it.

Raj takes a philosophical bent in this science fiction tale. Much of the fascination in extraterrestrial beings that normally goes along with sci-fi stories has been replaced instead with the mysteries of the cosmic world that are within our very own bodies here on Earth. That is not to say that there isn’t plenty of wonder to be had about the Planet B2 residents, but it take place within the realms of the metaphysical rather than the physical. The residents of Planet B2 are beautifully described as “the cumulative essence of all life giving and positive energy waves” (page 44.) This creates for a poetically bitter account of war, since inhabitants of Earth are essentially trying to destroy goodness that they themselves have had a hand in creating.

While at times the villainy of Rustler is a bit over-caricaturized, I think the heavy-handedness of his evil traits, sexism, racism, and greed to just name a few, is not without merit. The entire book is a caricature of the wrongs that our world is facing. It is a balancing act between subtle reproach and blatant bashing of society that Raj is participating in. Sometimes he leans too far to one side or the other, but when he is able to walk the line the effect is quite a treat. I recommend this book for readers with an open mind who are willing to delve into spiritual and philosophical discourse while at the same time being entertained.