Readers' Favorite Reviews

Intelligent Design II: Apocalypse

    Intelligent Design II: Apocalypse is a thrilling science fiction novella by author J.M. Erickson. Picking up where book one, Intelligent Design: Revelations, left off, the people of the hidden planet Terra are in turmoil once again. Janus, the universal Master Architect, still abides on Mars, but now he’s foreseen an incredible and deadly explosion that threatens life across the whole system: Jupiter is ready to become a sun. Former FEMA agent Christine Reich now runs her own powerful assault team, but even she knows she can’t go it alone in the face of truly apocalyptic odds. Meanwhile super-smart Andrea Perez is making her own epic discoveries as a disaster of mythic proportions looks likely to unfold.
    I have long been a fan of J.M. Erickson’s writing style, not least for the attention to detail he gives his central characters and the world which they inhabit. For a novella length story, Intelligent Design II: Apocalypse packs a thrilling punch in a convincing alien realm, where supernatural, mythical, biblical and historical references collide to create a savage and truly unpredictable universe. Amid this fantastical setting, the narrative reads as sharply as an SAS thriller with efficient, no-nonsense heroes and heroines who understand the full and terrifying impact of the decisions they make. The primarily female cast of Intelligent Design II was also an enjoyable deviation, as Erickson successfully subverts the usual conventions of both the sci-fi and action genres. Overall, a compelling and accomplished short read that packs an intergalactic punch. – (5 stars) K. C. Finn, Readers’ Favorite

     In Intelligent Design II by JM Erickson, a planet called Terra that has always been hidden from us reveals itself. Terra inhabitants know through the “Originators” that Jupiter is about to self-destruct and turn into another sun with catastrophic effects on Terra and Earth. Whilst they explore and discover an old underground world on their own planet, the Terrans also help Earth build an underground ark that will house and keep safe enough people to prevent the annihilation of the human race. Terra’s Andrea Perez and Earth’s Christine Reich seek advice from their planets’
    Master computers in order to best prepare both populations. Meanwhile, on their planet Mars, the Master Architect Janus, his companions and his Master computer analyze this disastrous event. But as old worlds change or end, new possibilities emerge for other planets to experience new beginnings.
    Intelligent Design II is Erickson’s sequel to his first sci fi book about Terra and the planets. I like the way the story switches from Terra to Earth throughout, and the relevant and thought provoking quotes from Buddha (and at the start from the Bible) give it an added depth. There are a lot of characters in this fairly short book and the list and descriptions of them at the start of the book is a helpful feature. The book is well-written with much to intrigue and grab enthusiastic fans of science fiction. The plot is well thought out and developed and the characters unique and very believable.
    There is a wonderful, distinctively mysterious and futuristic atmosphere to the story which I enjoyed very much. Whether or not there is life on other planets, and whether there is and has always been an intelligence overseeing or designing the emergence of life are exciting and extraordinary concepts to ponder. Erickson’s imaginative and thrilling story taps into our fascination and thirst for wanting satisfying answers and is entertaining at the same time. – (4 stars) Hilary Hawkes, Readers’ Favorite

     Intelligent Design II: Apocalypse left me more confused than interested from the beginning. Whether or not a reader has read the first book in the series, the storyline and scenes in this second book are chaotic and confounding. Without sharing clear descriptions of the characters and the scenes, there is little to entice a reader to continue. On top of that, the author has a tendency to jump ahead of himself, often leaving the reader to wonder what is really going on or how to connect the dots. Sometimes, Erickson will eventually make it more evident, but there were times that I never felt as though I could make sense of what was truly happening to the characters, the planets or within the plot overall.
    Other times, I felt like I needed a spreadsheet or flowchart to keep track of who the characters even were. One example occurred fairly early on when Erickson wrote of a battle that Andrea Perez's father was to enter into. During this section, Erickson would talk about him as Perez the Elder or Anthony while he would write of Andrea as Perez the Younger, Andrea or simply Perez. The shifts between these descriptions of the two wasn't graceful, and it often made it challenging to know exactly who was talking or being spoken of. Giving a variety of names for individuals exacerbates the confusing way the story is written.
    Furthermore, writing of keepers or master computers and then hinting that they are gods or creative sources leaves the mind boggled. Clarity and intriguing descriptions that lead a reader down a path of discovering a fantastic mystery is far more likely to hold a reader's interest.
    The basic premise of the book is interesting and has potential. A hidden planet and beings moving back and forth between planets is easily a plot that will draw in fans. Even more readers and fans could be interested in such a story when Earth is facing apocalyptic devastation. Yet, Intelligent Design II needs work. The story needs to flow more and leave readers hanging onto the edge of their seats versus having to go back repeatedly to understand what is actually happening in the story.
    On a final note, I love the quotes of The Buddha. However, I don't see how they really fit into this book. They simply seem out of place. – (3 stars) Janelle Alex, Readers’ Favorite

     JM Erickson pens a thrilling science fiction novella in Intelligent Design II: Apocalypse. The action continues for the Sol System’s Architects.
    Everything is about to change drastically. There is no doubt that Jupiter will explode. The result will be a second sun. What will happen to the existing planets? The Martian, Architect Janus, with the help of his master computer, calculates and simulates the outcome. Mars and Venus will be bombarded with asteroids, and the new-found planet Terra will remain intact, but Earth will experience an extinction level event. As the senior species, Janus warns Terra and Earth of this unexpected event. Andrea Perez stays on Terra and leads an expedition drill team into Terra’s crust, discovering a new subterranean habitat. Andrea’s father, Anthony Perez, returns to Earth. After his return, Anthony joins forces with his close friend, Christine Reich. Together they warn the powers that be, and then prepare for the worst. As the time draws near, Architect Janus discerns that Jupiter’s ignition is no random act; could it be a prearranged plan of superior beings? Will answers be found in the great beyond, in the void of time and space? Or will these events create more questions. Only time will tell.
    Intelligent Design II: Apocalypse is the sequel to J.M. Erickson’s Intelligent Design: Revelations. By including a list of characters, Erickson introduces, or reminds the reader, of the events and roles of the characters in the previous book. (This was a great help, as I had not read the first book.) As in any good science fiction book, the alien species have their own unique descriptions, abilities and culture, setting them apart from humans or “Earthies.” The prologue contains a mysterious narrative hook which draws the reader immediately into the story.
    Intelligent Design II: Apocalypse takes you deep into the solar system, changing settings often, from the hidden voices in the dark, to the underground domains of Terra and Mars, to the floating cities of Venus.
On Earth, the good guys battle not only time, but those who want to stake their claim to or stifle the knowledge of life on other planets. The impending cataclysmic event is the propellant behind the action; the story accelerates as “time” is running out. As a reader you anxiously await the climax, yet uncertainty remains as the story unravels towards its end. The prevalent theme is depicted in the quotes of Buddha at the beginning of each chapter: to live each day as your last day in harmony with one other. Erickson concludes this action-packed science fiction saga by planting philosophical ideas and truth-seeking questions; what is really out there, and who are the voices in the darkness? – (5 stars) Cheryl E. Rodriguez, Readers’ Favorite

    Intelligent Design II by JM Erickson is a great read for those who like science fiction. Andrea Perez, also known as Perez the Younger, was born on Earth, but now lives on Terra, a planet on the opposite side of the sun, and a planet which Earth cannot see. Living on Terra, she is part of the engineer-warrior caste system. Her job is to keep the planet's holographic emitters running, so Terra remains hidden from Earth. But a bigger problem is arising. Jupiter is igniting into a sun, and the Terrans are about to discover an experiment deep under the Terran crust. On Mars, Master Architect Janus and his Master Computer can't find an explanation for this weird event. Although Earth and Terra aren't far from disaster, there is new change for Venus and Mars. Throughout this story, watch as the apocalypse arrives, changing the universe and bringing alive the world of Hades.
     I loved Intelligent Design II by J. M. Erickson. It was evident that he did a lot of research on astronomy and earth science, and did a great job writing about it. There aren't many mature scenes, although the wording can be complicated for young adults. I noticed that this book did use some big words in it, and I recommend it for adults who like to read science fiction stories. This book is also good for older teens who are interested in astronomy and earth science. – (5 stars) Micaela Alpert, Readers’ Favorite