My rating: 4 of 5 stars
While making notes during the reading process of the fictional effort that is Season 7, I contemplated the foundation on which I would build this analysis, as well as to what it would be compared. And the Kanamits of “To Serve Man,” a short story written by Damon Knight and published in 1950, had been my first rumination. The inspiration for a Twilight Zone episode of the same title, aired in March of 1962, Knight’s “To Serve Man” featured a gruesome alien race identified as the Kanamits, who too, much like the antagonistic Synetian beings of this narrative, were come to Earth, offering Man “peace and prosperity.”
• Books can be deceiving.
Some novels appear super attractive on the surface and promise a tremendous reading experience in their descriptions, taking off fast in promotion and even garnering thunderous praise from others including any number of those who secretly harbor their own ulterior motives and such. Yet once the reader embarks on his or her journey with these narratives’ plots, they eventually come to realize—as each one unfolds—that all of the ravings were nothing short of empty . . . a huge buffet with absolutely no sustenance.
Other novels, on the contrary, project a more average image and synopsis, shuffling along slowly and luring little to no attention from the hordes—basically existing in the literary shadows being overlooked and ignored. Yet once the reader absorbs into the pages of these unnoticed fictional creations, he or she is dramatically gripped and surprised by the impact of the author’s vision, the narrative’s plot, and the tale’s cast of characters.
D.F. Nightshade’s Season 7 is to be estimated among the latter.
The first few chapters into this novel, I can remember thinking, Is there a point to this? Where the hell is this storyline going? What the hell is this? Nightshade, are you serious? . . . Are you really serious? But as I immersed deeper into the horrid lives of the effort’s characters, my disposition immediately began to alter. And by the time I turned the final page, my thoughts had fallen along the lines of, Damn, this book was good! Man, I wish it could have been longer. Damn, it ended too fast . . .
• Looks can be deceiving.
Human beings, imagine if you were simply living out your lives here on Earth, working jobs or going to school or servicing as homemakers or doing whatever it is that we humans traditionally do in our everyday lives to which we have become accustomed. And you’re getting on, you know, meeting new people, forming new friendships, finding new love, and so forth. Because life is for the living. And you pretty much enjoy living it. You see people everywhere you go. And many of them may resemble you according to their fleshly hues, while many others may not. All-in-all, notwithstanding our outwardly differences, we’re people. Humans. In addition to our skins, we all have hair and eyes of various colors, faces, cheeks, chins, ears, noses, lips, teeth, arms, legs, hands, fingers, feet, toes, torsos, buttocks, breasts, and of course, genitalia.
So despite our array of physical dissimilarities, still, we are all human. Right? But what if you one day encounter someone who is not all that they give you the impression of being?
Should there enter into your life a man or a woman who says to you, out of the blue, that he or she can make you rich, famous, supremely popular, and powerful beyond your wildest imagination, would you believe him or her?
Well, chances are that if you’re flat broke, jobless, friendless, desperate, damn near homeless, and being shooed towards the brink of hopelessness, you would. I mean, who wouldn’t? Right? Who in his or her right mind wouldn’t at least consider it under the aforementioned circumstances? One would be surprised at the things people will do to survive . . . when they feel as though they have nothing left to lose. People like Richard.
Richard did believe those too good to be true words. Richard fell for the possibilities of living such an affluent life hook, line, and sinker. Because Richard, an unappreciated and fired ATON security systems salesman, realized that his wretched life was going nowhere, and he desperately wanted—no, needed—a change. Everything was just coming undone in Richard’s worldly life: his job was unfulfilling, his roommate, Casey, was a sloppy pig, his love life was nonexistent, and without a job, Richard was staring down homelessness. It was only a matter of time . . .
By the way, Richard—perhaps this tale’s Michael Chambers—is our chief protagonist . . . the star of Season 7. And on one fateful night, after leaving a local bar where he had been attempting to drink away his misery, Richard is stopped on the road near the woods by a man who tells him that he’s having car trouble and politely asks Richard if he wouldn’t mind assisting him. His car is stalled only a few feet into the woods. Though hesitant at the outset, Richard agrees to aid the stranger with his disabled vehicle. We now learn that the man is named Nautilus. And once he and Richard reach the incapacitated conveyance, Nautilus then tells Richard (after a bit of normal conversation, of course) that he is in fact an alien from another planet — informing our star protagonist that he, Richard, is the “Special One,” and that awaiting him on Nautilus’s home planet is a kingship . . . a monarchical position of great power and influence. Nautilus continues to freak out the perplexed Richard by removing his finger rings which reveal his true non human image, and fills Richard in on the dilemma troubling his alien nativity, which is that there is a centuries-old war in progress between the alien inhabitants of Middonia and its neighboring city of Brare, and that only an Earthling, namely Richard, can return peace and prosperity to the troubled Synetian planet. Nautilus stresses to Richard that he is the “Special One” and must travel to the Synetian planet at once to rule . . .
In his skepticism, Richard comes to a typical conclusion: run like hell! But before Richard can run like hell, Nautilus touches him and Richard is instantly transported into another dimension, to an extraterrestrial planet that has two moons and a terrifying alien population who atrociously abhor humans . . . with a passion. And these would include Nautilus.
While these extraterritorial beings trespass on Earth (in human disguise and with gentle dispositions) promising unsuspecting souls liberty and fame and rulership and wealth and riches on their aboriginal planet, their kosher purpose is to simply abduct these impressionable humans, return with them to their nativity, and in all due time, horrendously slaughter the same . . . in the most grotesque of methods.
Here lies Season 7 . . . set on a strange planet where human beings are the “recruits,” and hypothetical beings are the ruling class; where alien emperors conduct bone-chilling destructions against their human abductees in the spirit of ancient Rome’s Circus Maximus; where giant extraterrestrial serpents ingest human beings whole; where human “recruits” are subjected to unspeakable forms of torture and torment for the amusement of the alien emperors and their recruiters; where humans are forced to obliterate their own kind in the fight for survival; where the human mind descends into madness; where abducted humans have absolutely no way of escape . . .
In this eerily dark fiction, the alien inhabitants of a peripheral celestial have established an annual tradition known as the Seasons, in which the planet’s governing emperors send “recruiters” on Earthly missions to deceive and capture unwary humans. These deceptive beings, after falsely befriending the Earthlings, then tell their targeted humans a multitude of untruths concerning their planet and its war woes, and how the fraught native beings desperately need humankind to intervene and take full precedence over the despairing situations. Sounding convincing enough, they manage to sway some but not all. And those gullible humans who are enticed to foolishly believe the scripted words soon find themselves ensnared in the grievous fangs of the Beast . . . like sheep delivered to the slaughter.
Richard, along with a small bunch of other human captives, were all “recruited” for Season 7. And it would have been better for these people had they been born dead than to have come into life and full growth only to end up in an infernal celestial world with no unequivocal way out.
Just the premise of this science fiction thriller will make the reader’s blood run cold. And D.F. Nightshade does a terrifically entertaining job with the briskly-paced plot and the sneakily detailed character development.
With a compulsive pagination of 162, Season 7 is a butter-smooth and tremendously congenial, albeit nightmarish, read that enthusiasts of the sci/fi thriller genre are for a surety to embrace.
In spite of a few grammatical errors that can easily be corrected in edited re-issues, the typos humbly pale in comparison to the narrative’s outlandishly exciting storyline. I was very surprised at Season 7, as the effort’s script unfurled before my very eyes one way and emerged from its shell before my very eyes seven different ways. And although it gets off to a rather slow, uninteresting start, D.F. Nightshade’s Season 7 gains its footing in motion, delivering to its reader a fairly satisfactory plot with an ending, however abrupt, worth waiting for.
A sequel, please?
I would indeed recommend Season 7 to those of you who love your sci/fi thriller casseroles gooey gory with one teaspoon of creepy suspense blended into the story.
• It is my kindly pleasure to thank Lulu Publishing, as well as D.F. Nightshade himself, for the author-issued copy of Season 7 in exchange for my honest review.
Analysis of “Season 7” by D.F. Nightshade is courtesy of Reviews by Cat Ellington: https://catellingtonblog.wordpress.com
Date of Review: Friday, October 6, 2017