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K-PAX V:
The Coming Of The Bullocks
Gene Brewer
Xlibris paperback £13.10

review by Mike Philbin

K-PAX one to four told the story of New York psychiatrist Dr Gene Brewer's meeting with a series of aliens from the planet K-PAX. So, what's different here in book five?

Well, at the end of K-PAX IV (that's book four) sexy ginger alien talking chimp 'fled' told Dr Gene Brewer about a sinister threat that was coming to erase humanity from the face of the Earth. The general idea being that a super-advanced unbelievably-ancient non-corporeal hive-race called the Bullocks were more than a bit peeved that mankind hadn't sufficiently evolved in the last few thousand years and was still such a wicked, evil, and villainous murdering psycho-race.

From the prologue, we find that Dr Brewer is unsuccessful in his given quest to make a speech to the United Nations to coerce humanity into a ban-on-killing mindset; one year to stop killing all the humans and one further year to stop killing all the animals. It seems to be going well, all the President (of the USA)'s men are involved in detailed preparations for the delivery of this message. It's exceptionally interesting reading, as the competing factions of the preparations team argue the potential ramifications and compounded effects of such a speech upon the nations of the world. This part of the book really carries the reader along. Pages turn, anticipation builds.

Having been well schooled by the President's men, Dr Brewer performs well in a few high-tension press conferences to share the Bullocks' message of doom with a disbelieving press. The UN speech goes ahead. But something is fundamentally wrong. You'll have to wait until the end to find out what it is. And, after that, you might not enjoy where the book (and the K-PAX series, by reverse extrapolation) goes, has gone/ went. In fact, you might be very angry, having been cajoled through this fifth book at wonderfully breakneck pace as the tension rises and 'message day' arrives.

As I was reading it, I was wondering why the Bullocks didn't highlight profit or the amoral global gambling game of corporations and country-decimation as a prime motivator of much of the murder and secrecy upon this insane world. I was wondering why a global education programme about the evils of growth economy and extinction economics wasn't instigated by the Bullocks upon a mind-washed mankind. But, it was much simpler than that; much more personal. The (galactic hive-mind) Bullocks suffered this vapid scream of human murder haunting their collective conscious like fingernails down a galactic blackboard. This core concept of a connected-experiencing universe (when you hurt someone, all the universe shares the pain) I really liked. And that alone seemed sufficient motivation i.e. valid reason, for total and utter annihilation of one supposedly sentient race like ours by another.

Personally, I like Gene Brewer's writing a lot, and book five is really very good. But I wouldn't climax such a long-running series with such story-meddling psychiatric distractionism and blatant fuck you game-playing in the last-but-one chapter. I'd just do it; play it straight. Show the culmination. Show the desolation. Show the ruin of Dr Brewer's failed mission to save humanity. This crow-barred-in (Terry Gilliam's) Brazil-like ending is just a little too gruesome to retain this reviewer's sympathy.

I mean, 'good,' toy with the reader's mind. I'm all for that. But not necessarily like this. For me, another potential five star book just became a three.

K-PAX V by Gene Brewer



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