Mystery, Intrigue, Networking And So Much More

Bruce Von Stiers

There have been a lot of science fiction novels dealing with computer networks and how people interact with them. There are also quite a few that deal with cloning and a whole plethora of them that deal with aliens, or possible aliens.

But what about a science fiction novel that takes all three of those plot elements and molds them into a story that also involves the NSA and reality video? That is just what author Paul Black has done. He has written a killer book that is much a mystery novel as it is science fiction. The title of the novel is The Presence. It was published by Novel Instincts Publishing.

As the book begins, the reader meets Deja Moriarty. She is an assistant producer for the online network show Life’s A Bitch. It is the top rated reality show of AztecaNet, which is run by Alberto Goya. The author shows just how debasing the world of reality television can become. Deja also is the lover of Sonny Chaco, a top NSA agent who deals with spy and espionage things online.

Deja has been gathering information on Goya for Chaco. The couple’s relationship is mainly steamy sex but Chaco can’t help feeling that he’s using Deja a bit too much. Chaco just might genuinely care for her, somewhere beyond his libido and the dirt on Goya that he was assigned to get her to obtain for him.

Then the reader is introduced to Marl. He is an enigma. We find out he came from somewhere else not yet defined. Marl has problems with all of the noise in the city. A city that he was assigned to be in. But the reader isn’t let in on the specifics of Marl’s assignment. At least yet anyway. He has a chance meeting with a woman in a convenience store that helps set off a whole chain of events later in the book.

Also introduced into the story is Chaco’s right hand man, Yoichi Tsukahara and Goya’s head of security Oscar Pavia. They both play small but essential roles in the story.

A particular set of circumstances lands Deja in a bar where she meets a beautiful but unusual woman. Her name is Corazon and Deja finds out that she’s Goya’s wife. But that isn’t all. Corazon is what is known as a “Silent Human” or in layman’s terms, a clone. Their chance meeting sets in place the plot anchor for the rest of the novel.

Later in the novel there is intrigue and mystery that surrounds a disappearance.

There are some distinct plot elements of the novel that make this a very interesting read. The first in the vast spectrum of what computer networking could evolve into. In the book technology is such that a person could plug their neural network into the physical computer network. And not always with the best results. In the future it seems there will still be hackers and evil doers screwing around with the net. The second plot element is this cloning thing. I know, it’s a subject that’s been beat to death. But the author puts kind of an interesting slant to the whole legal and moral issues regarding cloning.

What about Marl? Is he an alien, someone who has mystical powers or something entirely different altogether? The reader is left guessing until nearly the end of the book. This is another reason that this is a good book. Sometimes an author will give away the ending way too soon. But not here. I wasn’t entirely sure what direction the book was going. As I am an avid reader of mysteries, I tried to second guess the conclusion. I only got it about half right.

The Presence has several things that make it a very engaging novel. The first shows how low the realm of reality TV will drop to in the near future. The second is the being able to combine neural and computer networks. The third is cloning, with both the legal and moral aspects slightly explored. And then there is the aliens among us possibility. Are there beings from other planets in our midst? All in all, this was one of the better science fiction novels that I have read in the last couple of years.

The Presence is can be purchased through Barnes and Noble and other book retailers. It is also available on iBook, Nook and Kindle.

To find out more about The Presence, you can either visit the author’s web site or the one for the publisher. Paul Black’s site is The publisher’s site is




© 2011 Bruce E Von Stiers