Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cloud


Cloud by Charles Henry
(Timestone – CreateSpace / 0-615-23388-0 / 978-0-615-23388-8 / December 2008 / 336 pages / $12.99)

Reviewed by Donna Nordmark Aviles for PODBRAM

The Souza Family is vacationing in Colorado when a day trip to the top of Pikes Peak touches off a most unusual and dangerous adventure. As a storm gathers and visitors are encouraged to start heading down the mountain before fog sets in, a small cloud floats in through the open hatch on the family van and is trapped when the doors are shut.

The family comes to realize that the cloud is a sentient being with a personality and emotion. Since the cloudling, which they name Zephyr, needs water and electricity for its survival, the family devises unique ways to recharge their new being, all the while trying to figure out how to return it to its family – the thunderstorm from Pikes Peak.

To complicate matters, the accidental trapping of the cloudling is witnessed by Rick Snyderman of Millennium Weapon Systems. Snyderman also observes the cloudling’s ability to shape shift and evaporate water. MWS is in the business of weapons development and Snyderman’s evil mind begins to conjure up ways to weaponize the cloudling if he can only get his hands on it. The chase is on as the Souzas track the thunderstorm’s eastward movement with the Millennium agents hot on their trail.
Cloud is a fast paced, imaginative adventure story of a family trying to do the right thing in the face of great danger. There are many near misses as the family is pursued, and just when you think this is it, they’re caught, the family’s ingenuity kicks in and they escape yet again.

There are several Biblical references throughout the story that the author tries to debunk by attributing them to the actions of clouds, thus testing the faith of one of the main characters. In the end, there are no judgments made, just questions asked. It seems that the author wants the reader to question his or her own beliefs with regard to the Bible, however unconvincingly.

The cover design of
Cloud is beautifully done. The use of color and light is wonderful – the passing storm appears nearly photographic. The use of language and spelling are very good, but the text, unfortunately, is in need of a serious edit with regard to all types of punctuation. There are missing periods, dialog errors, and misuse of capital letters, colons and semi-colons. All, of course, are very distracting to the reader. The target audience for Cloud would probably be the pre-teen or teen reader with plenty to hold the interest of boys and girls alike.


See Also: Charles Henry's Authors Den page
Donna's Orphan Train Reviews

1 comment:

Charles said...

Thank you to Mrs. Nordmark-Aviles for taking the time to review 'Cloud'. The synopsis is excellent - much better than my own! Also the artist was very pleased that her work was noticed.
However, I feel a need to make a point clear. Consider scientific ideas like evolution, the 'fossil record', and the age of the earth. Some people choose to deny these matters, and that's fine for them. I cannot ignore these things. Having a background in physics I am unable to deny the things that I have held in my hands (fossils), seen with my eyes (changes in the fossil record) and calculated (the age of the earth). These facts are 'in my face', I cannot deny them. This left me with a problem - how to reconcile my scientific knowledge with faith.
I've lost many nights sleep wrestling with this issue. There are many others out there who face the same problem. 'Cloud' is a fun story, but in the background it is also an exploration of how to grapple with this issue. This struggle is part of what led me to write 'Cloud'.

'Cloud' is an allegory, where the cloud supplants some biblical events, and is thus 'in the face' of the mothers faith - in the same way that scientific information is 'in *my* face'. She cannot deny the existence of the cloud - it is in front of her and interacting with her. The function of the cloud in the story is not to 'debunk' the Bible, it is there as a 'faith challenge'. A challenge very much like that of everyone who sees both God and science.

'Cloud' has nothing to do with asking the reader to re-examine his own faith, it is for people who are already challenged to try and find a way to resolve the conflict, be at ease, and get back to the business of believing.

I can understand how someone could see the story otherwise depending on their 'filter'. To this end I will modify the book to include a 'foreword' that should resolve the issue.
'Cloud' is not an attack on faith. It is an allegory with hope for a cure to end nagging doubts that plague some of us.